Chapter 5: Loss
Atsuko stared in astonishment at the grass blades in front of her as she mentally struggled to pick herself up from the warm, grassy earth that she was lying upon.
Lord Sesshoumaru had killed her…killed her with his bare hand.
That was something that a powerful youkai never did unless the opponent had done something horribly offensive to warrant such an attack; the attack meant it was something personal.
Atsuko had seriously failed her Lord and accepted her fate by personally delivering the dreaded message that would’ve certainly resulted in her death, one way or another…
When he had impaled his hand through her chest, Atsuko was sure that she would never walk this world again.
All of the memories of her life had flashed before her eyes: her first Lady in Waiting duty, the birth of Lord Sesshoumaru, his childhood, the first time she met Hideo, the death of Lord InuTaisho, the birth of each of her children, dressing Sachiko in her new Lady in Waiting kimono, and meeting Lady Kagome for the first time.
When Atsuko first laid eyes upon the new Lady, she immediate understood why her Lord wanted her as a mate and why Lady Rin always spoke of her fondly.
Atsuko knew it from the moment her eyes had met the miko’s and because of that, Atsuko vowed to do her best to serve Lady Kagome.
However, when one of the guards came to her, holding a bloodied and injured Kagome in his arms, Atsuko’s heart sank as she instantly became aware of her failure.
She had failed to protect her Lord’s family.
Atsuko stared in horror as she watched from the doorway as a group of healers tend to his new mate.
The terror filled the older woman as she watched the white sheets that covered the Lady’s lower abdomen quickly become soaked in blood red; the smell of death lingered in the small, healer’s room and it wasn’t her Lady that had died...
When Atsuko had numbly told her family what had occurred, Sachiko had embraced her with tears streaming down her face; refusing to let go of her mother in the hopes that it would buy her more time with her before Atsuko faced her fate.
It was Hideo who had to pull their crying daughter away, and when he did, a sobbing Sachiko had fled the room; leaving Atsuko alone with her mate in somber silence.
They both knew what was going to take place, but as much as they didn’t want it to happen, it was the right punishment that anyone would’ve deserved if they were put in Atsuko’s position.
“Take care of Sachiko,” Atsuko finally said in a soft, unsteady voice.
Hideo nodded as he watched Atsuko turned to leave, but just as Atsuko reached the door, he reached out and gently grabbed her shoulder.
When Atsuko turned around to face her mate, he placed a loving hand on her cheek and gently caressed it; Atsuko reached up to place her hands over his as she turned into his palm.
They had shared many years and memories together; they had even shared many wrinkles and gray hair together too. They had the privilege to grow old together and they were grateful for that.
There were many ups and downs, but through it all, they had managed to stay balanced and become a strong, loving family.
“Be strong,” Hideo whispered encouragingly.
With much regret, Atsuko pulled away and left their room.
As she walked through the corridors of the servant’s quarters, some of the servants stood silently outside of their doors to watch Atsuko leave and deliver the terrible message to their Lord.
A few them looked at her sadly, while others chose to avoid eye contact with her; fearing that somehow they might be next on the execution list if they had glimpsed at her.
Yet, they all bade her farewell.
Atsuko knew that her Lord’s anger might get the best of him in this situation. She had helped to raise him and knew that despite putting up a strong, and an impassive façade, her Lord’s emotions would run high due to things that happened that were out of his control; things that exposed his vulnerability.
He had left his mate behind, certain that she was safe within the walls of his castle, and never expected her to be placed in danger. However, it was out of his control when she had tried to escape from the castle and wound up hurting herself, as well as their pups instead.
He wasn’t there for them… there to protect them; it would make anyone feel vulnerable, including the great Lord of the Western Lands.
Atsuko knew that he would be hurt once he had found out; he would be hurt for a while even as time went on.
As she reached up to lovingly stroke Lord Sesshoumaru’s cheek in comfort, she thought of all the memories she had shared with her Lord when he was a child and how distraught he was when his own father had died.
Once again, he would feel as helpless as he did when Lord InuTaisho died.
When Atsuko gazed up at him with her slowly fading vision, she wished she had the strength to speak the words of encouragement that her husband spoke to her upon leaving.
It was going to be difficult, especially for someone who had just experienced the loss of a child.
It was something that Atsuko and Hideo had to go through many times since their own sons had served alongside their Lord in his army.
Sachiko was the only daughter and child they had left.
Atsuko looked up and gazed through her blurry vision into the glowing red, anguished filled eyes of her Lord.
Be strong… Atsuko wished him tearfully as her wrinkled hand slipped from his beautifully sculpted face; her vision finally faded to black.
It was her final thought before she died, but Atsuko was surprised when she had awoken again; finding herself lying face down on the warm grass of the forest; it was as though she had simply taken a nap.
Lord Sesshoumaru wasn’t around from what she could sense, yet Atsuko found herself unable to move as she realized that he had brought her back to life.
He had given her a second chance.
Atsuko blinked as she felt a couple of raindrops fall on her face; shakily she began to rise to her feet with a renewed sense of duty before she transformed into a large hawk and headed for the castle.
Atsuko was sure that her Lord would be waiting for her to return, but as to what he would say or do to her when she did return…the many years of living in this world could never prepare her.
Shippo stared wistfully up at the cloudy, night sky as he sat on the porch that led to Rin’s garden.
He had a great day today as he was assigned to be Rin’s playmate, but he couldn’t stop wondering about the situation he and his friends were currently in.
The two children had played out in her private garden for most of the day, came back in to eat lunch, then they had to attend her daily lessons, and after they had played in the garden one last time, it was finally time to go take a bath before heading off to bed.
Yet, the whole entire time he had spent with Rin, his mind kept wondering about his other friends.
The last time he had seen Sango and Miroku, they were asleep on the floor of a dungeon somewhere in this castle, but the servant who had taken him away had assured him that they would be alright and well taken care of.
The next thing Shippo knew was that he was standing in front of a door, being introduced to Rin; a girl he had met a couple of times during his travels whenever his group crossed paths with Sesshoumaru’s.
Rin seemed to have noticed how distracted Shippo was during their time together, so she had sat down beside him on the grass of the garden and stared up happily at the sunny sky as she explained to him what was going on.
From what Atsuko and Sachiko had told her as they came to check on the little girl, was that Kagome was somewhere in the castle resting and that they wouldn’t be able to see her until Lord Sesshoumaru returned.
When Shippo explained to Rin that he and his friends were looking for Kagome, Rin simply offered him a smile.
“Kagome’s going to be a mommy, Shippo,” Rin stated in obvious matter with another smile.
“What!?” Shippo exclaimed as that information reached his ears.
“Mommies need to rest before they have babies. So, Lord Sesshoumaru probably took her back home so she can have the babies here. You mean you didn’t know?” Rin giggled as she explained to the shocked kitsune.
Rin was very excited when she had found out that Kagome would be staying with them from now on and was even more excited when she found out that Kagome and Lord Sesshoumaru were going to have children soon.
The thought of finally having a loving family of her own made Rin overjoyed.
Rin could barely remember her own parents; the only thing she remembered was how they had used to live in poverty and in squalor with little to no food.
Now her two favorite people in the world were starting a family together and Rin was part of that new family too.
She couldn’t possibly ask for anything else; even Shippo was here to stay with them too.
“But…Kagome’s in love with Inuyasha…” Shippo mumbled as he tried to sort out the new information given to him by the young girl.
Rin shook her head.
“Kagome and Lord Sesshoumaru are together, why would she like Inuyasha, silly?” Rin giggled again as she stood up and ran off to go pick more flowers.
Shippo shook his head in confusion as he tried to piece together what Rin had said to him.
This was so confusing to the little kitsune, but then again, maybe Kagome finally gave up on Inuyasha.
He was a two-timing hanyou, after all. Maybe Kagome had enough of him…but to love Sesshoumaru instead?
When did that happen?
Shippo blinked out of his reverie as he felt some raindrops hit his face.
He really wanted to ask Kagome some questions and make sure that she was alright. Something about this situation still seemed off.
Surely if Kagome, the woman who was like a mother to him, wanted to run off with another man, wouldn’t she at least told someone so that they wouldn’t worry about her?
As the rain began to fall with more intensity, Shippo decided that it was time to go inside and back to bed.
As he climbed into the newly placed futon across from Rin’s, he sighed heavily before he had lain down on the soft pillow; staring blankly at the ceiling.
He was still worried about his other friends, but at least he knew Kagome was safe…somewhere close by.
Inuyasha stopped leaping throughout the night cloaked forest to take a break from the heavy rainfall; shaking his body and head in a dog-like manner.
It was bad enough that he didn’t have a scent to go on in the first place, but now with the rain falling, it would be nearly impossible to find Kagome now.
As Inuyasha walked along the forest, he slowly narrowed his eyes as he began to recognize the scenery around him.
Sure enough, after walking for a couple of more minutes, he had come across a narrow canyon that was very familiar to him.
It was in this very spot that his life had nearly come to an early end.
Inuyasha remembered that night very clearly; the night Sesshoumaru had casted away a small Inuyasha from their father’s castle in the hopes that the small, defenseless child would die in the forest.
Inuyasha remembered running as far as he could to escape the full blooded youkai that had came after him. He was exhausted and scared; praying to the Gods that he would make it through the forest alive.
Granted, his older half-brother didn’t like him, but the moment that Inuyasha’s mother died, he banished the small child away from his only home.
Inuyasha had thought his life was over when he had came across the cliff, but an idea formed in his head to use the cliff to his advantage; hiding under a bush on a ledge from the cliff to make the demons think that he had fallen to his death.
Luckily, the idea worked, but still those youkai came to close for comfort.
As Inuyasha walked away from the small gorge, he looked back in the direction of where his old home used to be.
Sesshoumaru could keep his castle, Inuyasha didn’t care. The only thing Inuyasha truly wanted was Kagome, and he had to remain focus on finding her, no matter what.
As Inuyasha began to walk away from the cliff, his ears twitched as he picked up a faint, yet familiar humming sound down in the small canyon.
Carefully, Inuyasha hid behind a tree close to the edge and peered down; watching as a small swarm of Naraku’s poisonous insects travel craftily along the bottom of the cliff.
Inuyasha smirked as he knew that if he followed the bees, they would lead them to Kagome.
Gotcha ‘ya… Inuyasha grinned as he started to follow the swarm from above.
Miroku sighed exhaustedly as he placed his hands on his sides and stretched out his aching back.
The youkai of this castle didn’t know what to do with the houshi, considering that their Lady had her best friend with her, and the fact that no one else outside the Ladies in Waiting was allowed to see their Lady.
This left them puzzled as they really didn’t know what to do with the spare human.
So this had left them with a difficult predicament…a problem that was quickly fixed by Hideo.
Hideo had assigned Miroku to simple household chores, something that didn’t settle well with the monk.
He was a houshi, for Kami’s sake! Not some house servant!
However, when one of the youkai had mentioned Kagome’s name, Miroku remained silent and obedient; trying to spy on the youkai around him for more information.
There wasn’t much to go on, since the demons often passed him by; simply greeting each other if two or more were together or just to give him another chore to do.
The only other time Miroku heard Kagome’s name was when a servant had asked about her condition; Miroku paled when he saw the other servant’s head shake grimly.
There was a huge commotion some time after midnight as he was returning back from his duties to his newly assigned room in the servant’s quarters; he had seen a horde of youkai gathered in a crowd around someone as he walked by, but he couldn’t hear what they were saying.
However, their expressions did trouble him a bit.
Was it Kagome? It certainly couldn’t be…no youkai would be that concerned over a human, especially a miko.
But it did make him a bit anxious about her location in the castle.
What was she doing here? Miroku was pretty sure that she had been kidnapped just like them, but what were they having her do, exactly?
When he and Sango woke up in the dungeons, receiving orders from the demon named, Atsuko, she had mentioned that they were to serve their new Lady.
So, the castle had a new Lady recently…and Kagome was kidnapped recently.
Surely, it’s not Kagome, Miroku dismissed his thoughts as he shook his head and tied the obi of his yukata.
What youkai would want a human for a mate? But then again, Kagome wasn’t just an ordinary human…
Miroku shuddered as he tried to push the horrible thoughts away from his mind. Youkai were cruel and would do anything to gain power, including mating with a powerful miko.
He hoped that it wasn’t the case with Kagome and that she was simply sleeping in one of the nearby rooms in the servant’s quarters.
As Miroku gazed outside of his small window at rain falling, he couldn’t shake off the feeling that he might be wrong…
Sesshoumaru gave a low growl to a pair of servants when they opened the main doors for him as he entered into his home from the heavy downpour of rain.
They avoided eye contact with their red-eyed Lord as he furiously stormed passed them and released a shaky breath they did not know they were holding when he vanished from their sight.
Heads were going to roll tonight for those responsible for Lady Kagome’s care and they considered themselves lucky that they were just simple house servants; never again will they complain about their job.
As Sesshoumaru quickly made his way to his bedchambers, every servant ducked from his sight; trying to avoid the wrath of the livid, youkai Lord for fear that they may wind up dead.
Those responsible for his mate’s care would also be held accountable for the care of his pups; now two were badly injured and one was dead…
Something that they knew their Lord wouldn’t tolerate.
Not in the least bit.
Sesshoumaru paused as he detected a significant amount of his mate’s blood while he was walking down a corridor.
He stopped to look out one of the windows in resentment; glaring at the impenetrable wall outside that had nearly claimed the life of his mate.
The one thing that was there to protect her had nearly killed her instead.
It was enough to make him want to tear the damned thing down.
Upon entering his room, the group of healers stationed outside of his sleeping room flinched in surprise as they heard the door slide open with so much force, that they knew without a doubt, that Lord Sesshoumaru had returned.
All of the healers bowed deeply and apologetically; avoiding eye contact with his glowing red eyes as he silently walked passed each one of them to the room where his mate was.
The tension alone in his bedchambers was enough to strangle the healers to death without their Lord being there.
Now that he had arrived, they would rather have the tension or anything else kill them instead.
It was nearly impossible to keep the group of healers from shaking in fear.
They did their best; it wasn’t their fault that the Lady wound up injured.
However, explaining that to an enraged, youkai Lord would be very useless.
It was practically everyone’s fault in his eyes.
As Sesshoumaru entered into the dimly lit sleeping room, his eyes met with the Head Healer as she just finished rewrapping Kagome’s arm with a new bandage.
Although the old owl youkai greatly feared her Lord, she didn’t show it as she calmly stepped away from her Lady’s side.
Naoki had done what she could to try and save the pup, but it was to no avail; it had died instantly upon impact, long before Kagome was brought to her.
As for the other pup…Naoki gazed sympathetically at the resting girl as she slowly rose to her feet.
Naoki bowed lowly as she glanced at her Lord and knew what he required; privacy.
She wouldn’t tell him about the current situation, not now, for he would surely sense it; it was nearly impossible to miss the scent that now lingered in the room.
So, quietly the owl youkai left from the sleeping room and carefully climbed down the stairs from the platform; signaling to the other healers that it was time to leave.
When the door to his bedchambers finally closed, he slowly approached his sleeping mate’s side and silently knelt beside her half of the futon; noticing that the red haze of his vision was rapidly disappearing.
Sesshoumaru stared at her sleeping form as he tried to calm himself down from seeing how injured she was.
It was his fault.
He had left Kagome here, fully confident that nothing could hurt her, but the one thing Sesshoumaru had underestimated was that she easily hurt herself.
She was only human, after all.
Sesshoumaru reached out to brush away the ebony locks that had clung to her face and as he did, he saw the edge of his mating mark peek from underneath the collar of her yukata.
She was his, but he had failed to protect her…in his own home, nonetheless.
Sesshoumaru felt like a failure; he was unable to prevent his mate from being hurt…he wasn’t there for her…now they had lost a child as a result, while the other one remained injured like its mother.
Sesshoumaru lowered his head; allowing his silver bangs to shield his eyes.
Things were not going the way he had planned.
He wanted Kagome to be safe, to live happily within the walls of his castle along with their pups.
Sesshoumaru looked back up at her as he heard Kagome groan in pain while she slept.
He could tell that the healers had used a sedative on his mate, most likely to help her sleep through the pain, as he could smell the different, potent medicinal herbs that mingled with her natural sweet scent in her bloodstream.
Carefully, Sesshoumaru grasped the edge of the blanket and with curiosity, he pulled back the cover before he gently opened the front of Kagome’s yukata.
As much as he longed to see Kagome’s naked body, it was not what he wanted to focus on.
Her delicate, flawless body was covered in various cuts and bruises; with a large bandage wrapped around her small ribcage. It was nearly impossible to look at her damaged body without feeling the sense of guilt rise up in him; the fall could have easily taken her away from him.
Instead, he focused his attention on the large, dark purple bruise that had covered most of her stomach.
Sesshoumaru closed his eyes for a moment as he repressed a growl of rage before he calmly opened them again; gingerly reaching out to touch the darkest part of her bruise; the spot where the impact had claimed the life of their pup.
As his clawed finger made contact with her damaged skin, Kagome winced slightly in her sleep; the scent of despair and salty tears started to flood the room.
As Sesshoumaru began to pull away from her, to spare her from more pain, he froze as his youki detected a much weaker one; the surviving child.
Sesshoumaru knew that the other pup had survived and was badly injured, but what he didn’t know was how bad the pup was injured.
It was barely clinging on to its life…and was suffering as it did so.
Once again, Sesshoumaru felt helpless, although outwardly he didn’t express it.
Their pup was suffering, but its will to live was so strong that there was no denying that this child had Kagome’s determination.
Yet, the more the pup tried to fight the inevitable, the more it was only hurting itself.
There was no chance that the pup would survive the rest of the night and yet, even in its early stage of development it was showing him its true character.
However, character wasn’t going to be the key to survival.
As Sesshoumaru closed the front of Kagome’s yukata and place the blanket back over her; an idea came to mind.
He had never tried it in this situation, but there was a first time for everything.
Silently, Sesshoumaru rose and reached for Tenseiga before he held it above Kagome; waiting for the sword to pulse to show him the creatures of the underworld.
It pulsed, however nothing appeared.
Just for good measure, Sesshoumaru gave a large, swift slash across the futon and waited to see if anything else happened.
Even his pup’s aura still remained weak.
It was worth trying, but now Sesshoumaru understood what he had to do; something that he probably would’ve thought he never have to do, but he couldn’t allow this to go on for much longer.
He only wanted Kagome to be happy and give her many children so that she could do the one thing she seemed to enjoy most whenever he saw her with a child; being a mother.
Now their only surviving pup was suffering and it was painful to stand by to watch it happen.
It was a painful decision to make, but it would ultimately spare Kagome from more emotional suffering in the end.
Even if the child did manage to pull through tonight and lived, there was no telling how long it would continue to suffer in order to maintain that survival.
Sesshoumaru didn’t want to give Kagome the false hope of bringing a healthy child into the world, because the truth was, even if it did manage to survive the birth, there could be no way that the child would be fit to rule the Western Lands.
Pups or any children that were born nowadays with any abnormalities were simply abandoned or killed upon birth.
It was cruel, but in this world, only the strongest survived.
If Kagome did go through with the birth, he would most likely had to lie to her; telling her that their child died during the delivery.
It would probably devastate her even more than now, if she went through with the birth.
As much as he didn’t want to do it, it seemed to be the only right thing to do now.
Sesshoumaru would have to put the pup out of its misery and suffering, just to help ease its pain.
Sesshoumaru gazed into the face of his beautiful, beloved mate; it would have to be a secret he would carry to his grave, but to spare his mate and pup from more suffering, emotional and physical, he would have to shoulder the burden.
It pained him greatly to do this, especially since he was looking forward to the arrival of pups, their pups, but fate was cruel and spared no one, not even an innocent child.
Sesshoumaru quietly crossed the room and stared out at the heavy rain; into his private courtyard garden.
It didn’t take him long to spot what he was looking for; the large cherry blossom tree held Kagome and her companion’s scent.
The branch of the tree looked too tall for Kagome to climb upon.
As strong as his little miko was, she was not very athletic and he knew that Kagome, despite her desire to escape, would never endanger someone else’s life; especially that of a child’s.
There was no way possible for Kagome to know her way around the castle yet; Sesshoumaru had barriers in place to keep her confined to their bedroom and garden, but for his miko to climb dangerously above the protection of his barrier…
Sesshoumaru only wanted to keep Kagome content and distracted while he was away, searching for their enemy, but he seriously underestimated the taijiya’s capabilities.
The thought that the taijiya would still try to help his mate run away…
Sesshoumaru purposely kidnapped their other companions and placed them in unknown whereabouts in his castle to force them to weigh the consequences of escaping.
They were all very close to one another, and the Taiyoukai knew that they wouldn’t leave each other behind, however, he misjudged the fact that maybe there was a small possibility that they would leave without them, regardless.
The taijiya female would pay dearly for what she had done; Sesshoumaru would personally see to that.
That impudent wench had cost him the lives of his children and nearly the life of his mate; within one day of being in his castle.
As Sesshoumaru began to leave from their bedroom to summon the Head Healer before going to the dungeons, he paused at the doorway and gazed at Kagome one last time.
He would give her more pups, more than she could ever hope for, but he knew that no matter how many they would have…
…it would never replace the ones they had lost tonight.
Kagome stretched lazily as she walked back from the forest, watching the orange sun set low in the horizon.
It was a wonderful day, overall.
Inuyasha had allowed them to take a break for a couple of days and all the group did was relaxed all day in Kaede’s village.
Kagome smiled at her group of friends as she entered into Kaede’s hut; the delicious smell of beef stew that Sango prepared made her stomach growl loudly and everyone laugh.
“Are you hungry, Kagome?” Sango teased as Kagome sat beside her.
“Yeah, I guess that my stomach really missed your stew,” Kagome said with a blush as she patted her stomach.
As she patted her stomach, Kagome winced from the pain, but no one seemed to have noticed.
When did I hurt myself? Kagome wondered as she touched the tender spot of her stomach again.
This time there was no pain…weird.
Kagome shrugged it off and reached for her bowl of food, when it happened.
Inuyasha’s ears twitched rapidly before he stood up quickly.
“We’re gonna have company…lots of it,” Inuyasha warned.
“Demons?” Miroku asked as he stood up and grabbed his holy staff.
“No, I think somebody’s hurt or something,” Inuyasha said as moved to stand by the door.
As soon as he did, a group of villagers rushed into Kaede’s hut carrying an injured, pregnant woman among them.
Kaede slowly rose up from her seat on the floor and directed the men to put her on a futon she had designated for emergency situations.
“What happened?” Sango asked as she and Kagome stood up to observe the scene.
“This woman said she was attacked by a demon. She comes from a neighboring village,” One of the local village men explained.
“Alright, alright,” Kaede said calmly as she knelt beside the injured woman.
“Do you think she’ll be alright, Kaede?” Shippo asked as he hopped onto Kagome’s shoulder to watch.
“I’m not sure yet, Shippo. But I must ask for you men to leave as I examine her,” Kaede said as she shooed away the village men.
When Inuyasha and Miroku remained behind, Kaede gave them a stern look and Kagome turned to Shippo.
“You too, Shippo.” Kagome chided as she placed him onto the floor.
“Aww, but I don’t wanna go with Inuyasha,” Shippo pouted.
“Keh, I don’t wanna be stuck with you too, Kid,” Inuyasha grumbled as he came over to pick Shippo up by the scruff of his collar.
When Inuyasha’s amber eyes met Kagome’s blue ones, she offered him a smile of gratitude, which had caused the poor hanyou to blush lightly.
“Thank you, Inuyasha,” Kagome said sweetly.
“Uh, yeah. Don’t mention it,” Inuyasha mumbled as he and Miroku left out.
Sango gave Kagome a knowing look before they turned their attention back to Kaede and the injured woman.
“Would you like some help, Kaede?” Kagome asked as she approached the older woman.
“Yeah, tell us what you need us to do and we’ll help,” Sango assured.
Kaede looked over the woman with a deep frown and turned to face the two girls in the room with a somber look.
“I’m afraid that there’s nothing much we can do for the poor girl,” Kaede sighed.
“What do you mean?” Kagome asked quietly as she approached the injured woman.
“The girl is going to be fine, but as for her unborn child…even a normal human can tell that the child won’t make it,” Kaede explained.
“It won’t?” Sango asked as she too approached the woman.
Kaede shook her head sadly.
“It’s an unfortunate event, but these things do happen.”
“Is there anything that we could do?” Kagome pleaded as she stared into the face of the young woman.
Kaede nodded as she rose up from the floor.
“Sango, grab one of the jugs and gather some water. Kagome, I want you to get a pot to boil the water in and have a cup ready,” Kaede ordered as she went into the back room to rummage through some herbs.
It didn’t take long for Kagome and Sango to prepare the tasks given to them, and when they had the pot of water boiling; Kaede came over to drop a mixture of very potent leaves into the hot water.
The smell of the special tea that Kaede made was so strong, it tingled inside of her nose and practically screamed at her senses that something about the mixture was dangerous.
“What is that?” Sango asked as she watched the older woman fill the cup with the potent tea.
Kaede didn’t answer as she brought the tea over to sleeping woman.
“Sango, please help sit her up for me,” Kaede requested.
Sango and Kagome came over quickly to assist Kaede as she tried to give the woman the tea.
Kaede gently blew on the hot tea, to cool it down before she asked Kagome to hold open her mouth.
Something about the tea wasn’t right and Kaede seemed to know that.
“Kaede, what’s the tea suppose to do?” Kagome pressed as she noticed that the older woman was being unusually tight-lipped about the tea mixture.
“Kagome, do you wish to help me or not?” Kaede sighed.
Kagome and Sango exchanged worried looks before Kagome hesitantly opened the sleeping girl’s mouth.
After Kaede had finished giving the girl the tea, it didn’t take long for a reaction.
A few minutes went by in silence, before the white sheets below the woman started to bleed red and when it did, Kagome turned to Kaede in horror.
“What did you do?” Kagome gasped.
Kaede gave Kagome an apologetic look, the young girl was from the future and wouldn’t understand how they had dealt with certain things.
It was the ugly side of the Feudal Era that Kagome rarely saw.
“That was a special tea to end her unborn child’s suffering,” Kaede finally explained to the horrified girl.
Kagome glanced over at Sango for some sort of backup, but instead, Sango had her eyes lowered to the floor with her bangs covering her eyes.
“I knew it. It was something that I had heard about before, but I just wasn’t sure if that’s what Kaede was trying to do,” Sango uttered as she finally looked up at her friend with apologetic eyes.
She was sorry that her friend had to witness such a thing, but Kagome would never understand how they did things here in the Feudal Era, like how they would never understand how they did things in the future.
Different times, different standards.
No one was happy to take the life of an innocent child, but it was so easy to die from infection or child birth, that this remained one of the limited choices women had in this era.
It felt so wrong, but essentially they were saving another life.
Kagome stared back at the woman in horror as the potent, tingling smell of the special tea engraved itself into Kagome’s brain.
No matter when or where, Kagome could never forget that smell, even if it was buried under a thousand scents; the smell of it was unforgettable.
The memory of that night would always haunt her.
Kagome’s eyes snapped open as she was lying on the futon; the smell of that tea wasn’t only coming from her dream.
The young miko looked beside her to see a slightly startled, but sympathetic Naoki as she held a tray with a kettle of tea and a cup.
The old owl youkai was very surprised when Kagome had awakened, because the healers had given the Lady enough sedatives to keep her unconscious for days.
From the way that her Lady was staring the tea kettle, Naoki knew that young miko was aware of what was inside, so she bowed remorsefully to the younger girl.
Kagome’s eyes began to fill with tears as she realized what was happening.
“No…” Kagome whispered in terror as she started to hug herself.
Sango struggled to pick herself up from the cold, stone floor and before she could even stand, she was struck in the ribs by another hard kick.
Never in a thousand years would she have thought that the great Lord of the Western Lands, the very demon that had despised humans for his entire life, would have taken her best friend as a mate.
The cold hearted bastard had raped the girl that was like a sister to her, and now he had returned.
Sango pulled herself up; resting on forearms as she coughed up an abnormal amount of blood.
The Taiyoukai was furious that she had tried to help her friend escape, but as for the loss of her unborn children…
“I’m surprised. You mean you actually wanted hanyou children,” Sango said cockily as she winced from the pain coming from her side.
Sesshoumaru leaned down and grabbed the taijiya by her long hair; yanking it tightly before he heavily slapped the previously injured face.
Even if he did wanted hanyou children, which he didn’t, it was of no concern to the demon slayer.
She had no right to talk to him that way.
Sesshoumaru slapped the demon slayer hard across face again; he would put the wench back in her place before he had the pleasure of killing her.
“You will learn to hold your tongue,” Sesshoumaru warned with a low growl as he gripped her hair even tighter.
Sango winced but never backed down.
“Make me,” Sango hissed boldly before the Taiyoukai pulled her to her feet; slamming the injured woman into the nearest stone wall.
Sesshoumaru’s claw wrapped itself tightly around her fragile, exposed throat; the tip of his sharp, poisonous nails embedding themselves into Sango’s skin as she tried to kick herself free from the Taiyoukai’s deadly grasp.
He wanted to make Sango suffer…suffer for the pain she caused had him…suffer for the two innocent lives that were lost tonight…
Sesshoumaru no longer cared that this woman was Kagome’s so-called, friend. She had caused his mate to escape in a dangerous manner, a way that could’ve easily taken his precious miko from him.
Sesshoumaru tightened his grip around the taijiya’s throat, narrowing his eyes as he heard the woman struggling to gasp for air; her small hands scratching frantically at his large one as tried to loosen his grip to prevent her strangulation.
“My Lord?” A timid voice called from the doorway of the dungeon.
Sesshoumaru didn’t bother to take his eyes from the struggling taijiya as he addressed Atsuko’s only daughter.
“What is it?” The Taiyoukai snapped with a low growl.
Sachiko flinched and hesitated as she tried to find her voice again; she had already gone through so much tonight…
“What is it?” Sesshoumaru pressed as he tightened his grip around the taijiya’s throat to a dangerous level.
Die…He growled mentally as narrowed his eyes even more at the repulsive human.
“…It’s Lady Kagome…” Sachiko uttered as she fidgeted nervously in the doorway.
Sesshoumaru raised a delicate eyebrow at the mention of his mate’s name. The procedure must have been finished and Sachiko was merely here to inform him.
“It’s done?” Sesshoumaru presumed as watched the light slowly leave from Sango’s eyes.
Sachiko bit her lip anxiously as she felt her heart pound furiously against her chest; struggling to deliver the message she was sent.
She wasn’t sure how her Lord was going to take the news; their Lady was supposed to be sedated for days…
“No, my Lord. However, Lady Kagome wishes to speak to you,” Sachiko whispered shakily as she watched her Lord unceremoniously drop the human to floor.
Sango rolled over on her back, trying to inhale large amounts of the precious oxygen she was deprived of moments ago; surprised that the angry Taiyoukai had released his deathly grip on her.
For a second there, before he had dropped her, she could’ve sworn she saw a look of concern flash upon his face.
But she knew the demon Lord in front of her was incapable of such emotions, especially when it came to humans.
Sesshoumaru was simply using Kagome for his own agenda…to sate his own desires, and it made Sango sick to her stomach that he chose to use her friend.
As Sesshoumaru began to leave the dungeon to head back to his bedchambers, he paused at the doorway, not bothering to look back at the injured and disheveled demon slayer as he addressed her before he left.
“I’m not finished with you, yet.”