Chapter 1: Resonant
‘Can you feel me?’
Kagome shook her head as she continued running; shielding her face by holding her arms up as she ran through the dark, thick forest.
Her heartbeat was quickening with every pant; the cold sweat dripping down her back.
‘Coursing through your veins, into your heart…into your very soul?’
Tears began to well up in her eyes as she ran further, and further away from this feeling…
An exposed tree root, which she had failed to see through the tears, merely caught her off guard as her head connected with the cold, hard ground below.
A sharp pain in her head blurred her vision, as well as the falling tears staining her dirtied face. She began to move her legs, only to find out that they felt like lead.
Kagome rolled on her side to get a better look at her legs, only to gasp at the sight before her.
The forest behind her was engulfed in black flames and emerging from these flames, was a dark figure, also engulfed in black flames, crawling on its belly, pulling on her legs to drag her in.
“NO PLEASE, STOP!” Kagome shouted from the top of her lungs as she struggled to get her legs free.
The figure laughed viciously, as Kagome reached for the root from which she had tripped. She held on tightly with her eyes closed, as the figured continued laughing and pulling.
“Do you think you can escape your fate? Your reality?” The figure said in a cruel, but familiar voice.
Kagome opened her eyes, still holding on, but refusing to look at the creature consuming her.
“I won’t give in! I-I won’t!” She shouted.
“Do you refuse to believe that this is what you will face?” The creature sneered.
Kagome said nothing, merely hanging on to the root for dear life, as her knuckles became bone-white from the sheer grip.
“This is you! This is your heartache; your anger, your fears, your hatred! You who stood silently and bottled these emotions inside! It was you who DID THIS TO ME!” It shouted.
Kagome’s heart sped up as she slowly turned around to look at the creature over her shoulder.
Her eyes opened wide as her mouth slightly fell open…
She was staring at herself.
The kind, bright blue eyes were darkened and filled with so much hate and resentment. Her usual smile was replaced with an evil snarl. Her long neat hair was curtained around her face in a mess, and along the side of her face were black markings. Her arms and her face were splattered with blood.
Kagome couldn’t tear herself away from the horrific sight.
“LOOK AT ME!” The other Kagome screeched, echoing through the night.
“LOOK AT ME!”
Kagome bolted up from her sleeping bag and glanced around in the darkness of Kaede’s hut. Only to discover that it wasn’t the same darkness that was consuming her in her nightmare.
She visibly shuddered as she could still hear the resonant screech of the Kagome in her dream and secretly wondered why the dreams have been plaguing her and becoming even more vivid than the last.
Kagome jumped up at the sound of her name and glanced nervously to her right, only to stare directly at her best friend’s concerned face.
“Are you alright?” Sango whispered.
Kagome nodded numbly and waved her hand.
“Yeah, just a bad dream…that’s all,” Kagome whispered back. She glanced around again, but it was then that she noticed that Inuyasha was no longer in the room.
“Where is he?” Kagome asked quietly.
“I’m not sure,” Sango shrugged, as she looked at Kagome with sympathy. Kagome knew what that look meant, because Sango’s guess was the same as hers…
…he was probably somewhere with Kikyo.
“Oh,” Was all Kagome could say, as she began to lie back down. Shippo, who was lying next to her, twitched his tail in his sleep and snuggled closer to her for more warmth. Kagome rested her head against his and sighed.
Her heart slowly breaking at the sight of his absence...
Sango glanced up from straightening the clothes on the clothing line. The breeze was exceptionally great on that clear afternoon, which prompted Sango to do some laundry.
Kagome simply helped out along the way. She was currently holding a basket filled with already washed clothes.
“Yeah, Kagome?” Sango answered curiously. Kagome had rarely spoken a word all day, and Sango blamed that mostly on Inuyasha, since he had yet to return back to the village.
“Do you think it’s okay for me to go home for a couple of more days? I kind of have to be there for my new school and all…” Kagome fidgeted her feet while waiting on an answer.
Sango paused and thought about it for a moment. Normally, she would ask Inuyasha about going home, but seeing as he was not here and Naraku was seriously injured somewhere…
“Of course you can,” Sango said with a smile as Kagome’s face lit up with delight. It was one of those moments in which she enjoyed Kagome’s pure happiness.
“Thank you,” Kagome chimed with a one-armed hug as Sango continued hanging up clothes. She placed the basket onto the ground next to Sango before running off to go get her backpack inside the hut.
“Kagome-sama, is something the matter?” Miroku asked when she entered the hut in a hurry.
“Oh no, not at all. I’m just going home for a few days. I start my first day at my new school tomorrow,” Kagome said eagerly as she packed up her things into the large yellow backpack.
“Well, I wish you the best of luck then,” Even though there wasn’t a lot that he knew about schools in the future, Miroku still smiled warmly at his beautiful, happy companion.
Kagome rushed to the door, but before leaving out she said: “Tell Shippo that I will bring him some more goodies, okay?”
Miroku nodded and waved as Kagome ran out of the hut and into the familiar forest. Halfway in the trees, Kagome stopped as she detected a familiar aura following her; she smiled.
Right behind her was a small neko youkai sprinting towards her. It leapt up and landed gingerly on her shoulder.
“Hello, Kirara. Sango told you to keep an eye on me, right?” She nuzzled Kagome’s cheek and then mewled in response.
Kagome giggled and began walking towards the well. When it was in sight, Kirara hopped off Kagome’s shoulder and waited patiently nearby. Kagome walked towards the well and carefully adjusted the backpack on her back before climbing on.
She turned towards Kirara and gave her a smile.
“I’ll see you in a few days,” Kagome said as she climbed over the lip and hopped into the well.
As she jumped in, the familiar, comfortable, warm light engulfed her as she made her journey through time; Kagome released a contented sigh.
Light; always her sanctuary….
Dark; always his sanctuary….
But it was the rare exception that this familiar darkness was giving him a headache.
The large, dark room was quiet, despite the fact that the room had seven people in it. They were sitting patiently on cushions, waiting for someone to speak.
Four of them were seated along the walls on both sides with small tables; two on each side with adequate space in between them. While the other three people sat up front, without tables and were facing the other four in the room.
The Council was wearing everyone’s patience thin….
“If you have something to say, then I suggest that you say it quickly. Otherwise you are wasting your time,” Said a deep voice, impatiently from the left side of the room.
The person seated in the middle of the three up front, nodded in agreement.
“Then I shall be short with this,” He said.
There was a brief silence, but then:
“It has come to our attention that the hanyou, Naraku has been significantly causing problems within the Four Lands,” The man stated.
The four in front of him, all nodded in silent agreement and waited for the man to continue.
“He must be dealt with, immediately. Before more problems arise.”
There was another silence, but then someone from the left wall slowly, stood up from their seat.
“If I may…” Started the same deep voice from before; he waited until the three members in front of the room nodded, so that he could continue.
He turned his attention to the person sitting directly across from him on the right wall.
“Sesshoumaru-sama, is this hanyou really a threat to the Lands? The last I’ve heard, was that you were currently hunting him, am I right?” The voice said with concern.
Everyone’s attention was quickly turned from the standing being, to the one sitting across from him, as if they were demanding an explanation.
Sesshoumaru nodded quietly.
“I have been hunting him for some time, yes.” Sesshoumaru stated in an obvious manner.
Everyone waited for him to continue, but when he did not, the other person spoke.
“But is he really a threat? I highly doubt that something so weak could cause an uproar within the Four Lands. Unless you are incapable-”
In less than a blink of an eye, Sesshoumaru was in front of the standing figure, drawing his sword. But before Sesshoumaru could react, the head councilman raised his hand and created an invisible shield between the two, causing Sesshoumaru to jump back instead.
Sesshoumaru growled angrily at the other person, before putting his sword back in his sash.
“Lord of the West…Lord of the South. This is a neutral territory, as you both know, and thus you should behave accordingly,” Chided the head councilman.
Sesshoumaru and the other lord never took their eyes off of one another as they both headed back to their seats.
“Yuchun-sama,” Sesshoumaru warned as he took his seat back into the shadows.
“Sesshoumaru-sama,” Yuchun warned back, as he too sat down.
The head councilman sighed irritably as he looked at the other two lords in the room, expecting some sort of fight to break out.
Another sigh could be heard from the right side of the room, except that it was not from Sesshoumaru, but rather the lord next to him.
“If this hanyou is really a threat, should we be concerned about the safety of the Four Houses themselves?” A calm, seductive voice asked.
The three councilmen faced each other and pondered the lord’s question. They seemed to have come to an agreement about it and turned to face the lords once again.
“It is very likely, that he would want the Four Houses for himself. They are the four powers that control these lands.”
The lord chuckled as he locked his hands behind his head and leaned back comfortably.
“The hanyou could try to get into my lands, but he will find himself less than successful.”
The councilman on the left jumped up quickly from the shadows; his whole body shaking with physical anger.
“Jejun-sama, this is not the time to jest! The hanyou could be a serious threat to the Four Houses! What do you think will happen if just one of the houses fell into Naraku’s hands?” He cried.
The Northern Lord moved his hands from behind his head, and leaned forward on his table to rest his chin upon them.
“Then tell me, dear council…what do you suggest we do?” Jejun said sarcastically, and then his tone became more serious.
“Sesshoumaru-sama has been tracking him for some time and I have no doubt that the hanyou you speak of, is getting stronger by the day…because if he wasn’t, he would have been vanquished by now! So tell me, oh knowledgeable council…how do you destroy an enemy that constantly gets stronger? The smartest thing to do for now, is to increase our land patrols and place better defenses around the Houses.”
Once again, silence fell upon the room as the stunned councilman sat back down on his pillow, and for several moments the room’s inhabitants reflected on Jejun’s words.
Then silently, the remaining lord stood; the Eastern Lord.
“The foolish thing to do is to attack him offensively,” His soft voice stated wisely.
Yuchun faced the other lord and looked up at his shadowed face, although he could tell that the lord’s expression was that of worry.
“Then should we wait for him to attack us directly? Surely, he would be able to grasp the Houses easily that way, Junsu-sama. If he fights us on our lands, then the Houses will definitely be jeopardized!” Yuchun spat.
Junsu shook his head as he sat back down.
“But should we go out to attack him directly, that will certainly leave the Houses open for an ambush-”
“It is a no-win situation, nonetheless,” Sesshoumaru stated.
“Agreed,” Yuchun admitted. “But is it wise to let him approach us?”
“Perhaps…since we will be the ones with the advantage,” Junsu pondered.
“But we will be at a disadvantage should we fail,” Jejun added.
“Which is why I chose to track him instead,” Sesshoumaru said darkly, which led everyone to think that his tracking was more on a personal level, instead of just land protection.
The Council slowly stood up and bowed to the four lords.
“This pressing issue needs more deliberating, since we need a new way to approach this. We humbly thank you for your time and hope that you will have a safe journey home,” The head councilman said as the three disappeared into thin air.
It was then the four lords’ turns to stand up and leave. They all stood and watched an imp youkai servant slide open the door. It bowed to each lord as they left out of the Council’s room and into the vast, dimly lit corridor.
At the end of the large hallway, there stood four different figures, all wearing black kimonos, waiting silently against the walls by a large oak door. As soon as the four lords approached them, they all bowed and cleared a path for the lords to leave out the door first; they followed right behind.
Yuchun, leading the group, opened the door leading to the outside and was greeted with bright, warm sunshine as they all stepped out into the entrance garden.
The four other youkai stepped out and approach their waiting lords. Two were male and the other two were female.
The two males stood next to the Eastern and Northern lords, while the females went with the Western and Southern lords.
“Should we be on high alert then, Junsu-sama?” One of the males asked, his dark hazel eyes shining with concern in the sunlight.
“For now, we will keep a close eye on the lands. Changmin, I want you to inform the guards,” Junsu ordered.
“Yes, my lord,” Changmin bowed as he began to glow with a bright white light; he disappeared immediately in a tiny ball of light and drifted away.
“There’s no telling where he could be hiding…so Yunho, I want you to do the same,” Jejun also ordered. The male next to him bowed.
“Of course, my lord,” Yunho said as he flashed a small smirk; he vanished in a quick flare of flames.
“Ayaka, informed the guards to keep a close watch on the border line,” Yuchun said.
Ayaka sighed, before rolling her eyes. Yuchun raised an eyebrow at her as she folded her arms.
“Fine, fine.” Ayaka huffed, as she reached into her sleeve. She pulled out a small blade of grass, and disappeared in a breeze among the waves of grassland.
“Kiyomi, inform the guards as well and I want you to keep a closer watch on Rin,” Sesshoumaru said impassively.
“Yes, my lord,” Kiyomi bowed, before she burst into tiny drops of water and evaporated into the sky.
Jejun waited until Kiyomi disappeared before he spoke.
“How’s Rin, by the way? I rarely get to see the dear girl, nowadays....” He said as he combed his fingers through his short black hair; his grey eyes shining playfully. Everyone in the Four Lands, including the Council, was aware of Rin and thought that she was very…interesting.
“She is well,” Sesshoumaru said curtly, leaving no room for conversation.
Once again, Jejun locked his hands behind his head and looked towards the sky.
“Aww, I really do miss her. I don’t suppose she could tag along for next meeting?” He asked.
“No, not likely.” Sesshoumaru growled. Jejun was a notorious womanizer and Sesshoumaru didn’t want Rin to be around him.
Not because he was worried of what he could do to Rin, because Jejun treated her like a little sister…but because of the company he kept around him; rather his large harem.
Jejun raised his hands defensively and sighed. “You’re still mad about that, huh?”
Sesshoumaru glared as Jejun pouted. Sometimes Jejun was a complete idiot and really knew how to piss people off; like Sesshoumaru for instance.
Jejun sighed depressingly as Junsu began to turn and leave.
“If any problems arise, feel free to ask the Eastern lands for assistance. I would be honored to help out any of you,” Junsu said softly with a small bow. He then began to glow and instantly transformed into an enormous tiger, before running off towards the East with a roar.
Jejun turned and faced the other two lords, before bowing farewell to them.
“I, myself, as well. If there is a chance to take down this hanyou, then I will be more than happy to help out. I shall send Rin a present, when I get the chance,” Jejun added with a smirk, before also glowing. The glow eventually faded and revealed a massive black dragon, which swiftly glided through the trees heading towards the North.
Yuchun nodded at Sesshoumaru before he glowed, revealing a gigantic dark brown wolf. It huffed before rushing off towards the Southern lands.
It was then Sesshoumaru’s turn to transform and when he did, he wasted no time in rushing back to the Western lands, in order to strategize on how to completely destroy Naraku.
It was becoming more complicated just to vanquish him…
“Oh, man. I really don’t understand this.”
For the millionth time, Kagome stared at the math problem in front of her and groaned. She took adequate notes AND actually stared at the teacher as he was talking, but for some reason, she couldn’t focus.
For some reason, all she could think about was…
“Hey, do you need help with that?”
The classroom was nearly empty; most of the students had left out to go eat lunch outside. So hearing another person’s voice merely caught her off guard.
“Um, I guess so. I mean you really don’t have t-” Kagome looked over her shoulder, and her jaw nearly hit the floor.
Standing there, waving with a large smile…was a face that she had not seen in years.
Her short, shoulder length brown hair was tucked neatly behind her ears and her chocolate eyes sparkled with excitement. She silently fidgeted with the sleeves of her navy blue blazer, hoping that Kagome would recognize her.
Kagome stood up and gave the girl a large hug.
“Kaname, it’s been a while! I had no idea that you were in this school,” Kagome said excitedly as she grasped the other girl’s hands.
Kaname’s smile grew larger.
“Yeah, actually I’m in your class. I’ve been sitting behind you this whole time,” Kaname chuckled as she pointed at her seat. “I was almost afraid that you wouldn’t recognize me. But I guess I was wrong.”
Kagome grinned. “How could I ever forget you? You helped us out a lot in the Sengoku Jidai.”
Kaname blushed as she began fidgeting with the hem of her skirt. “Oh, it was nothing. But I should be thanking you. You guys help me to realize my power, and I couldn’t have done it without you. Besides, how is everyone?”
Kagome then proceeded to tell her about everyone and what they’ve been up to, and about how Naraku was currently getting stronger. By the time Kagome finished, it was time to start class again, in which Kaname managed to trade seats with the boy next her.
Kagome and Kaname exchanged phone numbers and addresses after class. They then walked with each other to the school’s gates and were ready to say their goodbyes, when they’ve noticed something strange.
They looked up and saw a girl standing on the gates of the school; facing away from them, looking at the sky. She was clad in their navy blue school uniform and had short dark hair. She seemed to be waiting on something.
They both glanced around at everyone, but no one else seemed to have noticed the girl on the gates.
“Um, that’s strange,” Kagome said. Kaname nodded in agreement.
Then both of them flinched when the girl glared at them from over her shoulder.
“So you can see her, huh?” A silky voice asked. They both turned around to see a girl with long black hair walk towards them.
She stopped in front of them and then disappeared. She then reappeared behind them and placed her hands on both of their shoulders.
“Smart girls. Although, it did take you a while to catch on,” She said lazily with a lady-like yawn.
“What is she doing up there?” Kaname asked curiously to the long haired girl.
The girl smiled as they all turn to stare at the waiting girl. The long haired girl laughed darkly as she gazed at the two in front of her.
“I knew it. You two haven’t even Awakened yet,” She jeered as she walked passed them to stand beneath the other waiting girl. Instantly and effortlessly, she hopped on top and was standing next to the schoolgirl.
“Let’s go,” She said in a serious tone as she raised her hand. A long, bright purple line materialized in front of them, and one after another, they stepped in; vanishing into thin air.
The both of them stood there blinking, in total confusion.
“Awakened? What does that mean?” Kagome asked as she and Kaname exchanged looks.
They both shrugged and were beginning to leave out of the gates when suddenly it felt as though all of the air was knocked out of their lungs. Deafening silence flooded their ears as their visions began to blur the world around them; a wave of dizziness crashed upon them. They could feel themselves falling, despite the fact that they were still standing…
Immediately everything went black…