Chapter 2: The Path to Everything
“Hey… hey! Will you wake up already? Geez, you sleep like a rock or something…”
Kagome struggled to open her eyes, but couldn’t, as a numbing sensation washed over her body.
Suddenly, she felt a small sting on her arm; someone was pinching her.
“Ow!” Kagome cried as she sat up and rubbed her arm. She glanced around as the offender walked away, towards a large bleeding creature.
A huge chunk on its side was missing, exposing the bones of its ribs, causing the vast majority of the pool of blood on the ground. Its eyes were wide open, yet it had tears of blood flowing from them. It was so mangled beyond repair, that it was impossible to believe that it was once a lizard youkai.
It was wheezing for air before it flinched at the person walking towards it. Long black hair swished back and forth as the tall, slender figure approached its face; it was the girl from school.
She crouched on the ground to get a better look at the youkai’s face and placed a hand under her chin.
“You know…you look really pathetic right now,” She said cruelly. She then cocked her head to the side and stared at Kagome, her bright green eyes mocking the confused girl.
“It’s actually kinda…cute.”
At that moment, the youkai released a horrible, piercing screech before the schoolgirl kicked it brutally in the head; practically crushing its skull.
“So, adorable little miko…would you like to finish it, or should I?”
Kagome blinked for a couple of seconds, unsure of whether to accept the compliment, answer the question or stay in complete shock, before the other girl stood up and sighed irritably.
“Fine, I’ll do it. I just thought that I should be nice for once.” She walked calmly over to the youkai and held her hand out in front of her.
Kagome stared in complete awe, as the girl waved her hand slowly across the youkai; disintegrating it in the process. Then, it was gone.
“Seriously? You’ve got to be kidding me…” The girl said as she pulled at her uniform; examining it. It was covered in blood splatters, which were drying very rapidly.
“I’ve just ordered a new one yesterday! Stupid youk-” She looked up to see Kagome gazing at her from the ground. “Oh, yeah. You’re still here,” She mumbled.
She walked over to Kagome and stood in front of her with her arms crossed; tapping her foot impatiently.
Then after a moment:
“Can you get up or what?” She asked impatiently.
Kagome shook her head. “No, I really can’t.”
The girl uncrossed her arms, while uttering a few curse words, and held out her hand for Kagome to grab.
Kagome grasped it firmly and was pulled up. But as quickly as she was pulled up, she immediately fell…and unfortunately, landed on top of the other girl.
“Oh, dear Kami…today really isn’t your day, is it?!” She shouted angrily as Kagome was laying on her chest…her very large chest…
Kagome blushed furiously as the girl quickly shoved her off.
“Wow, we just went to third base…and I’ve only known you for like…fifteen minutes,” The girl said as she stood up and brushed herself off.
“No, it’s not like that-” Kagome spluttered.
The girl began to chuckle as she looked at Kagome’s blushing form.
“Relax, miko. I was only joking, that’s all,” The girl said as she leaned over to check Kagome. “Are you hurt in any way?”
“No, I just feel really heavy for some reason.” Kagome stated. The girl nodded as she proceeded to grab Kagome by the waist to hoist her up.
“Alright, I’m going to carry you. So, don’t say that I haven’t done anything nice for you, okay?” The girl huffed.
Kagome nodded as the girl adjusted her onto her back. Kagome embraced the girl’s neck, as the girl held onto Kagome’s legs on both sides.
“Please tell me that Shiori isn’t far,” She sighed as she began to walk along the empty street. It was the first time that Kagome took in her surroundings.
The sun was setting in the burnt orange sky and the quiet neighborhood was littered with apartments. From what Kagome could guess, she could only assume that she was on the outskirts of the town.
“Where are we? And how did I get here? The last thing I remembered was that I was trying to go home and then everything went black,” Kagome explained.
The girl released a deep sigh. “Listen, you are a miko. Are you not?”
“Then it is safe to assume that you do not have a Sensei, right?”
“Oh, great…a miko without a teacher,” The girl cheered sarcastically. But before Kagome could retort, the girl spoke again.
“You’re going through a certain change of sorts…” The girl trailed off as she left Kagome to her thoughts.
It was silent for a couple of moments, but then Kagome broke out of her reverie as she digested the new piece of information.
“Hey…about what you’ve said back at the school…” Kagome said slowly.
The girl nodded for her to continue.
“You said something about being Awakened, and now you’re talking about changes. What does this all mean?” Kagome asked curiously.
“Unfortunately, for you, I have a huge headache and now a backache to even tell you what they all mean,” The girl groaned as she continued to walk.
After a few minutes, they could both see two figures advancing towards them in the street; one walking, while the other was being carried on its back.
“Hey, Shiori!” The girl called out as she sped up her pace towards them. It was then that Kagome realized it was the other schoolgirl and the person on her back was none other than, Kaname.
The girl named Shiori stopped as they approached her, while she allowed Kaname to her fall on her butt onto the asphalt. Shiori was panting and was covered in a thin sheen of sweat; her short, dark hair being glued to her face.
“Ahhh, HEY!” Kaname shouted as she glared up at Shiori. “At least give me some kind of warning,” She uttered as she rubbed her sore rear; Shiori glared down at her.
“Whatever,” Was all she said to Kaname, before turning her attention to the other girl. “Sakura, can we please go home now?” Her soft voice would’ve sound beautiful, if there wasn’t a certain bitterness to it.
“Yeah, okay. But let’s drop off these two troublemakers first, ne?” Sakura said as she held out her hand in front of her once again.
And for the second time, Kaname and Kagome witnessed as the same vertical bright, purple line slowly materialized in front of them.
“What is that?” Kagome asked as she peered around Sakura’s head.
Sakura kept her eyes focused to the growing line, but smirked at Kagome’s question. “You ask way too many questions, little miko. But it is the Path to Everything…a purple transport line, if you will.”
“Wow,” Kagome whispered in wonder, as she and Kaname looked on in awe.
“You can have one too…if you keep up your training, that is,” Sakura said as she took a step forward into the line.
Kagome closed her eyes, waiting for something drastic to happen. But instead she was graced with the sound of voices. Millions of voices; all of which were talking and echoing off of the walls...
Kagome slowly opened her eyes and glanced around. The place was dark and had no other source of light, with the exception of a long, soft glowing purple line running along the floor, making a pathway of sorts, leading straight ahead. And yet the voices never ceased.
“Amazing,” Kagome heard someone say behind her, before looking back and realizing that it was Kaname, who was on Shiori’s back again.
The vertical purple line, which they had used as an entrance, was no longer there; which gave Kagome the sensation that she was trapped in a room with no doors.
Her breathing intensified as she comprehended that there was no escape…that this could possibly be a trap. The possibility of that had never occurred to her before…
She felt an odd chill go down her spine, as it dawned on her that she was trusting complete strangers. On top of that, strangers with strange powers…
“Do you ever relax, little miko? Geez, I can feel you tense up back there,” Sakura scoffed as she was walking along the purple line.
Kagome blushed as she relaxed just a little bit. “Oh, sorry…I didn’t mean-”
“And are you really this apologetic? Because if you are, then I’m the one who should feel sorry for you,” Sakura teased.
Kagome caught herself, by biting her lip, before apologizing again. She decided to change the subject, since there was a question burning her in her mind.
“Um, Sakura…was it?”
“How could you tell that we were mikos?” Kagome asked seriously.
Sakura began to chuckle at the question in hand.
How untrained are these two girls, anyway? Sakura inwardly laughed.
“Well, your aura for one. Plus the fact that we are mikos ourselves…just not the good kind, like you or Whiny back there.”
Kagome blinked owlishly at the girl, of which she was presently riding on. There was no way she could’ve heard that right…
“So…you’re dark mikos…?” Kagome inquired carefully, unsure of what to think.
“Yep,” Was all Sakura said, as the silence installed itself between the four girls.
Was that a good thing or a bad thing?
Certainly, they haven’t tried to kill them. They were rude, yes…but they haven’t made any attempts on their lives, yet. Or were they merely setting them up for something else? Perhaps a sacrifice…or maybe they wanted their powers?
Sakura once again felt the girl on her back tense again, and sighed heavily.
“Listen, you. I want nothing from you, okay? So, whatever it is your thinking, get it out of your mind, okay? Because you are killing my back!” Sakura cried.
“But how do I know whether I should trust you or not?” Kagome shouted angrily into Sakura’s ear; gripping her shoulders tightly.
“Because!” Sakura snapped over her shoulder. “Just…because! I don’t know why you should, but…just do it anyway, okay?!”
“No way, you psycho! There’s no way I’m trusting two dark mikos to take me somewhere, without a reason! I’m not an idiot,” Kagome accused as Sakura stopped.
She placed her hand out front, but this time made an angry sideways slashing motion in front of her; immediately a bright, purple slash appeared.
But before Kagome knew it, she was picked up and tossed into the line and flinched when she heard another, “oomph” beside her.
They both looked up to see Shiori glaring and Sakura waving at them as the line slowly vanished.
“It should wear off in a couple of hours…in the meantime, you should get reacquainted with the floor,” Sakura sneered.
Then, the line was completely gone. The room was mostly silent, due to the astonishment.
Kaname was the first to recover from her shock as she took notice of the place that they were in.
“Is this your room...?” Kaname asked as she gazed at the bed beside her.
Kagome blinked several times, to also recover from the shock as she looked around.
“Yeah, it is,” She said impressively.
I guess she was right, after all. Kagome thought. But then something Sakura said rang a bell in Kagome’s head.
“Hey! We can’t move for a couple of hours?” Kagome cried as she gazed at Kaname, who nodded sadly. She tried to move her legs once again, but to no avail.
“What should we do until then?” Kaname asked. She didn’t like this predicament at all, nor the circumstances in which they came there, but she was somewhat grateful, nonetheless.
However, Kaname swore silently that the next time she should see the two…she was definitely going to give them a dose of her power.
“I don’t know…” Kagome whispered as she stared out of the window at the darkened, nighttime sky.
Kagome turned to look at Kaname, as she chose the stare at the floor with a small blush gracing her cheeks.
“I forgot to ask…about Sesshoumaru-sama. How is he?” Kaname asked quietly.
Kagome tilted her head to the side at Kaname’s question; it was a very odd question, considering that it came out of the blue. Not to mention the subject of the question itself.
“Um, well…he’s fine, I guess. I haven’t seen him since the last time we fought Naraku, and he did help out a lot. So, I guess he’s okay.”
Kaname nodded; satisfied with her friend’s answer.
“Thank you,” Kaname said as she rested her head against Kagome’s mattress, her eyes slowly closing due to the lack of energy.
“Sure,” Kagome said, uncertain as to why she was being thanked. She watched as Kaname drifted off to sleep, before deciding that it was the only option she had while being trapped on the floor.
Kagome closed her eyes as she replayed the events of the day over in her head.
For once, she fully welcomed the darkness as she began to fall asleep.
“Do you think that we’ll ever see them again?”
Kagome looked up from the text message on her phone. It was after school and apparently, Yuka and Eri had set her up on another blind date with a boy in their class, which Kagome was less than thrilled to go on, since she was still only interested in one guy…
…and that one guy was still chasing after his former love.
“Well, they do go to this school. So, we might run into them again…unfortunately,” Kagome said as she snapped her phone shut. It had a cute little white dog keychain dangling from the side of it, as she was reminded that the phone was a graduation gift from her family.
“We need to be prepared, don’t you think?” Kaname asked. It had been two days, since their last encounter with the pair of dark mikos.
Kagome nodded as they walked out of the school gates; a feeling of déjà vu washing over them again. The clouds overhead were already darkened due to the oncoming thunderstorm, but it gave the two friends an eerie feeling, regardless.
They began to walk towards Kagome’s house, since it was closer and could protect them from the storm, when suddenly they were grabbed out of nowhere.
Someone was pulling their hands, as they both realized that they were not being kidnapped, but rather being led away by a tall, long haired girl.
Sakura was running as she dragged them along.
“C’mon you idiots! Can’t you run faster than this?” She yelled.
“What are you doing and why are we running?” Kagome said in between pants as she increased her pace; Kaname did the same.
“I’m saving your sorry asses, because you two idiots were about to be attacked! Are you really that oblivious to the world around you?” Sakura panted as she continued running.
Kagome and Kaname exchanged looks as they both did their best to keep up with her without being dragged.
“What was about to attack us?” Kaname asked with concerned, despite the fact that she was still pissed off at their last encounter.
Sakura glanced over her shoulder and gestured right behind her. “That.”
The two girls looked right behind them and gasped as a large, blue snake youkai slithered its way toward them, gaining speed as it did.
They all began to run even faster, as they could feel the snake’s breath upon their backs. A figure was quickly emerging from the middle of the street in front of them as the three girls drew near it.
“Shiori!” Sakura cried. Shiori nodded as she held out both of her hands in a defensive manner. Her hands were glowing with a sinister green light.
They were a few feet in front of her, when Sakura shouted, “Now!”
Shiori released the green light, but as she did, Sakura leapt up and hopped over her to avoid it and allowed the momentum from their running to boost Kagome and Kaname past either side of Shiori and her attack.
The rain began to fall heavily as they all skidded to a stop to access the damage. Shiori’s attack had knocked the demon out cold, as it was still lying on the ground breathing, but bleeding from its head; the blood being slowly washed away by the rain into nearby drains.
“Oh, man…that was close. Nice one,” Sakura said to Shiori as she went to go get a closer look at the unconscious demon.
However, their victory was short lived as the demon growled and twitched in the middle of the street; quickly regaining consciousness.
“We need to get out of here and fast,” Sakura said as she rushed back to the three other girls, she nodded at Shiori, who nodded back in understanding.
Shiori’s dark eyes darted along the ground as she searched for something desperately, while the three other girls watched the youkai awake from its slumber.
“Shiori…” Sakura warned as they took several steps back; the snake was opening its eyes.
“I know,” Shiori said quickly as she continued to search the ground.
“Shiori…” Sakura said urgently as the youkai began to raise its head. Shiori was now searching frantically behind them.
“I know, I know!”
The youkai’s eyes started to regain focus, as it growled ferociously at the four schoolgirls with its sharp teeth being bared. It was ready to strike…
“SHIORI!” Sakura shouted as the snake drew back its head.
“Found it!” Shiori cried as she pulled Sakura’s hand, which quickly grasped Kaname’s hand, which quickly found Kagome’s own, as the all fell into a small hole in the street.
As they were falling into the dark hole, Kaname and Kagome realized that it was not a hole that they had fallen into, but rather a small puddle of water.
The darkness, in which they were continually plummeting in, suddenly lit up around them in a familiar, warm light. Their fall was being slowed down, significantly.
“What’s happening?” Kaname asked as she glanced around at the others. All of them shrugged, as they took in the sight around them. But as quickly as it came, the light disappeared and left them in a free fall towards obscurity, in which all of them began to scream.
Immediately, the screams stopped as Kagome felt something cold and wet hit her face. The sound of thunder could be heard above.
Rain? She wondered.
She could’ve sworn that she was falling just a second ago.
She struggled to move as the lead sensation returned to her body again, so she tried to open her eyes.
Her vision was once again, blurred, as she felt herself slipping into an unconscious state.
But before her eyes could fully close, she could’ve swore that the blurred sight in front of her was that of Kaede’s hut….