Seven Feudal Fairy Tales
Published on / 60 Chapter(s) / 187 Review(s)
-Complete-After reading a poetry scroll amongst the relics once belonging to Inuyasha's mother, Kagome traps herself and Sesshoumaru in another world, where they must journey through seven, different fairy tales and complete the poem if they wish to return home.
Chapter 2, The Sun and Moon
Chapter Two: The Sun and the Moon
“Kagome-sama, let go of the scroll!” Miroku commanded, his voice firm and his eyes fixed on her.
‘Why are you getting mad at me? You’re the one who told me to read it.’
“Let go of it!” he yelled again moving towards her, his tone no longer calm and Kagome could see the obvious distress painted on his normally placid face.
“Kagome!” Inuyasha yelled brushing past the monk, his hand grasping towards her, but slipping through the air just before reaching her. Her gradually fading arm swirled in the wake of his clawed fingers, as if it were dust motes in the air.
‘What’s happening to me?!’ Panic began to seize her, but her dissolving body wouldn’t move except for its slow dispersal in the gentle breeze of the cave. Inuyasha stepped back, afraid of doing more harm than good and kept desperately calling to her, but with every frantic word, his voice drifted further and further away. The lamps went black in Kagome’s eyes and she felt the last remnants of herself dissipate in the air.
‘My face is burning.’ Kagome cringed and her eyes fluttered open. Slowly she reshaped her crumpled form and sat up, rubbing the imprint of the tatami floor on her sore cheek. She looked around, her mind in a sleepy haze. Her body felt like rubber, as if the whole of her had pinched a nerve and fallen asleep. Beside her laid the battered kanji notebook and instinctively she scooped it up. Then on fawn-like legs, she stumbled to her feet, only to topple over, landing hard on her bottom. The sudden, jarring blow knocked the remaining vestiges of drowsiness from her and her dark brown eyes widened at the room before her. This was not the cave.
The small, dim room was lit by several lamps revealing intricate murals on the walls and ceiling. Images of the sun and of a particular woman who radiated light and warmth upon the people around her caught Kagome’s eye in particular. She didn’t have to grow up in a shrine to know who that figure was.
“Amaterasu-omikami,” she whispered to herself as she stood once more, sure of her balance now. She felt like she was in a museum as she examined the artwork around the room and found herself drawn to the tokonoma at the back of the room. In the modest alcove hung a finely painted scroll of Amaterasu emerging from a cave, returning light to the world after her self-imposed exile. Below it were various tall, floral arrangements and between them, a small shrine to the sun goddess. Elegant in its simplicity, the shrine was decorated in paper streamers and a thin stick of incense burned; its wisps of the smoke wafting gently through the air. ‘Something doesn’t seem right,’ she thought as she delicately touched a few of fragile flower blossoms.
The scrolls began to rattle against the walls as a low rumble rolled through the room before she could put her finger on what seemed amiss. Kagome held her breath and listened. It was eerily quiet with only the whispers of burning lamps filling her ears. Then it came again. It started with a short sizzle and a boom followed by the thunderous shaking that reverberated through the floor and walls. Taking a deep breath, Kagome walked towards the sliding door and touched it tentatively, building her courage.
“Yosh,” she proclaimed, bolstering her nerves as she slid open the shoji door and her mouth dropped in amazement. It was the ocean. Gingerly she stepped out onto the polished wood walkway that ran parallel to the room and leaned over the ornate railing that separated her from the waves. Moving like rippling silk, the black water crashed roughly against the pillars beneath the building and Kagome caught herself reminiscing about sunbathing and watermelons. It had been ages since she had been to the beach. The dark, overcast sky wasn’t the cheerful sun from her memories though, but instead felt ominous and surreal. The ocean breeze brushed against her skin and whipped at her hair as she watched the dark tatters of clouds moving swiftly across the sky. Dissipating and reforming as they flowed, they played out twisted stories of violence and agony with their vaporous wisps. Kagome watched in disbelief as nebulous samurai slew each other and vaguely-shaped oni ravaged hazy villages. Brutal wars, death and demonic faces dominated the sky and she found herself both horrified and fascinated by the carnage.
“This can’t be real. It has to be my imagination. Maybe I’ve spent too much time in the Sengoku Jidai. Too many razed villages, too many burials, too many youkai and too much caffeine,” Kagome mumbled as a great mass of clouds swirled together, taking a new shape. A head and torso began to build on the horizon. Cracks of lightning illuminated the deep hollow depressions of its eyes and a wicked, fanged grin spread across its face. A great arm swelled from the shoulder and reached for the hypnotized school girl with its billowing fingers.
The rumble shook the floor again, startling Kagome from the sight and she looked down the hall towards the front of the building. The sound was definitely louder out here than in the room. She returned her gaze to the sky and sighed in relief at the shapeless clouds meandering lifelessly across the dark sky. With a quick curse to her imagination, Kagome stepped lightly down the hall, seeking out the root of the commotion.
The lively tinkle of wind-chimes greeted her as she came around the corner. Hung along the building eave, the wind caressed them gently, coaxing the eerie sound from their carved-shell lengths. Kagome felt her nerves ease little at the strangeness and she walked up to a large door that apparently led to a massive chamber. She pressed her ear against the large panel. Another tremor struck and the door vibrated violently against her pressed cheek. ‘It’s coming from here,’ she thought, biting her lip, ‘The way back might be inside, so there’s no point in not looking and I’ll be quiet so if it’s dangerous, I’ll just slip back out and think of something. Not a great plan, but better than blundering in.’ Kagome sighed heavily, ‘What I’d give for my bow right now.’
Her heart thumped rapidly in her chest and she licked her dry lips as she softly gripped the door handle. She could feel her hand trembling; in fact her whole body seemed to be shaking uncontrollably. With a gentle tug, the door slid open and within a flash, Kagome felt her body being consumed by a blast of fire. The wave struck her to the floor and the sizzling flames licked her prone body. Tension and fear enveloping her mind, she screamed in terror and continued to do so even as the last sparks of fire burnt away.
“I’m alive”, she gasped, feeling her body in disbelief.
“Hn,” a voice replied blandly, “This sword seems to be ineffective against living creatures as well.” A figure stood over her body inspecting her with impassive, golden eyes. She held her hand up to her brow, squinting and trying to place the unnervingly familiar voice with a body and hopefully a name. The lamps on the walls illuminating him from behind made his silhouetted body even more difficult to identify. Silver or white hair, white and red clothes, black armor, fur wrap of some sort and facial markings of a crescent moon and red slashes on the cheeks. Kagome gasped and scrambled across the floor putting several feet between her and the tai youkai.
“Sesshoumaru, what are you doing here?” she said, after a moment, satisfied with the distance she had put between herself and the predictably dangerous demon.
“This Sesshoumaru could ask you the same woman,” he replied, slipping the long, red-hilted sword into the yellow and blue obi at his waist and pulling back a few errant strands of long, silver hair, “You’re Inuyasha’s mate, are you not? Tell me is that pathetic hanyou here as well?”
“No, no, he’s not,” the school girl stuttered, her face going from ashen to beet red, “And he’s not my mate.”
“I see.” Casually turning on his heel, the tai youkai headed towards the back of the spacious room. Kagome felt anger rising in her throat at the somewhat amused tone of his response. Before she could catch herself, she stood behind him, her arms akimbo and her tongue unleashed.
“You didn’t answer my question,” she stated, the anxiety in her voice replaced with a demanding tone. Pausing in step, Sesshoumaru stared at her over his shoulder, debating her fate. This human was obviously here alone as well or else he would be having a strained conversation with his half-brother and not her. She seemed more ignorant than he was as to where they were, but there was still the small chance that she held some clue as to why he had been transported here against his will. He disliked her level of respect to his station as a youkai lord though, but after surviving a direct blow from the Tokujin without a single burn to show for it, it seemed a pointless endeavor to attempt kill her again.
“This Sesshoumaru was summoned here by a scroll,” he remarked curtly, his icy glare defeating her fragile resolve.
“What kind of scroll?” she said softly, realizing she had pushed his patience a bit too far.
“A renku poem. It was bequeathed to me by my father.” Kagome’s eyes widened at his words and the tai youkai’s eyes narrowed in response. She did know something. “What do you know woman?” he demanded, turning towards her.
“I was reading a renku scroll right before I came here,” Kagome said thoughtfully, recalling the hazy memory from what seemed like an eternity ago.
“It belonged to Inuyasha. It was in a trunk with things that belonged to his mother. No one could read it except for me and when I finished, I woke up here.” Another lovely inheritance from his father, a bitter, if not subtle smile adorned Sesshoumaru’s face as he fit the pieces together in his mind.
“Come,” he said calmly as he once again walked towards the rear of the room, “There is writing over here that I wish for you read.” Biting her lip and fingering the paper edges of her kanji journal, Kagome cautiously followed the elegant tai youkai. Something still felt off to her though. This place looked real and it felt real, her sore bottom proved that well enough. Still, it didn’t seem real and what that was eluded her.
The room was even more massive than she had thought. The dark amber glow of the lanterns revealed gorgeous murals saturating the walls with color and life. The artwork flowed gently over each of the panels and Kagome began to recognize them as stories from her childhood. A smile easily found her lips when she saw the tiny Issun fighting the bandit or the bamboo cutter discovering the delicate, little girl from the moon hidden in a stalk of bamboo. Modest shrines were placed along the wall at the end of each story with slender sticks of burning incense, honoring each tale.
“Burning incense,” Kagome whispered to herself, the gears of her mind working. The air didn’t smell like incense, in fact the air didn’t smell at all. It was flat and plain. The flowers from the room she woke in had no fragrance either. Even the ocean she had been a step away from didn’t have the briny, sweet scent she had always loved. She studied the tai youkai in front of her. Sesshoumaru had asked her if Inuyasha was here, but wasn’t he a dog youkai? Inuyasha could track easily with his nose and knew who was nearby without any trouble by simply scenting the air. Shouldn’t his brother, who is full-blooded, be able to do the same, if not better? “Sesshoumaru,” she asked sheepishly, “Can you smell anything here?”
“No”, he replied after a long moment, “There are no scents in this place.” It was irritating to be impaired, but admitting so was salt in the wound. He however could see no reason why to refuse this knowledge to the human woman.
“So, that’s why you asked if Inuyasha was here, it was because you couldn’t smell him?” she asked, inwardly hoping that she had concluded correctly.
Kagome took his silence as a yes and smiled at her new found analytical prowess. Well, it wasn’t that hard to figure out, but any victory was a good one. Her smile quickly dissipated with a new thought however. When she entered the room, she had been doused in a fiery blast. In her experiences in the feudal era, she had been lit on fire a few times and that was no ordinary fire. Now that she thought about it, Sesshoumaru had his sword drawn when she first saw him.
“We’re here,” the tai youkai said abruptly, interrupting her line of thought. He had stopped in front of a large wooden door with a series of characters carved into it, “This door appears to be the way out. Most of the kanji is familiar to me, but there are several crude ones whose meanings escape my knowledge. A lowly human, such as you may understand them with better ease.”
‘Lowly human?’ Kagome thought to herself, becoming enraged, ‘He can’t read it, so he insults me and expects me to do it? What makes him think he’s better than me? He’s a youkai who stabs his way through every situation. And he insinuates that I’m crude?’
“Why don’t you open it in the sophisticated youkai lord way and just use your sword to blow a hole in the door.”
“You should know quite well that my sword has no effect in this place.” She looked at him quizzically and felt a gnawing feeling grow in the pit of her stomach as he drew the Tokujin. With a swift movement, Sesshoumaru swung the sword down, the terrible sizzling flame erupted from the blade, striking the door with a thundering boom that resounded throughout the room. The color drained from Kagome’s face as she recognized fire as the same one that had engulfed her when she entered the chamber.
“You tried to kill me?”
“Why?” she asked, not sure if she really wanted to know why and half wishing she could just forget it happened to begin with. After all, it wasn’t the first time he’d tried to kill her. Something or someone was always trying to kill her and what was even more disturbing was how ambivalent she felt about it at this point.
“You have no scent. Now read this door,” he replied impatiently, tired of the pointless conversation. Kagome stared at him. ‘I have no scent? What does that mean? He didn’t know I was there, so he just reacted when I opened the door? I thought Inuyasha was impulsive sometimes, but I can definitely see that it’s hereditary.’
Mumbling under her breath about sword happy youkai brothers, Kagome walked over to the engraved door and found herself marveling at how perfectly intact it was. There wasn’t even a scorch mark from the sword blast marring the smooth, dark wood. Having an increasingly annoyed demon at her back, the school girl quickly switched her priorities and began to concentrate on the stark, etched writing.
“Ink glides across skin,” she said, remembering the familiar line, “Shifting symbols part a way.” It was the same poem that she had read before in the cave. As she spoke, the carved characters began to glow, bathing her and the tai youkai in an eerie blue light. “Darkness swallows two.”
“Continue,” Sesshoumaru said evenly when Kagome hesitated at the strange light. He too recognized the lines as the same ones that called out from the scroll he was holding before he appeared in this place.
“Black water breaks upon wood.” As if patiently waiting, the blue glow ceased its spreading into the new stanza and Kagome repeated the line several times, secretly relieved that it was no longer growing.
“Black water breaks upon wood,” Sesshoumaru said after a pause and the glow began to expand again, seeping into the new line easily.
“Shells sing shelter within wind.”
“Shells sing shelter within wind.”
“Hidden from the sky,” Kagome said, watching the first line of the next stanza grow in light before Sesshoumaru could repeat after her. “Brave through storm the sun and moon. Seeking the before.”
“Distant tales seven there are,” Sesshoumaru said at length, struggling slightly with several of the kanji, “Battle cries and wishes scorned.”
“The bear challenges. The boy of golden will and strength. Trees hold victory.” As Kagome spoke the final character, the door radiated a brilliant blue light and vaporized into sparkling dust. The soft rays of the morning sun shone through the newly opened doorway and gnarled, weatherworn stairs led up out of the room into a thick conifer forest. Kagome smiled in her success. “Finally I’m going home.”
His brow slightly furrowed, Sesshoumaru hesitated at the foot of the ancient steps, watching the human woman springing gleefully up them. If this was really the way out of this place, his sense of smell would have returned. He sniffed the air, searching for the pungent fragrance of pine, the crisp clean air, or even the scent of wild game foraging in the forest. None of it existed to his finely tuned nose. The woman’s conclusion was premature. They were still trapped and probably were going to be for some time, after all no enchanted scroll that belonged to a tai youkai would be so easily solved. Sesshoumaru smirked at his thought and began to climb the stairs.
Commenting is disabled for guests. Please login to post a comment.