Continuing Tales

Divine Concubine

A InuYasha Story
by CiraArana

Part 6 of 11

<< Previous     Home     Next >>
Second Chances Shujin’s voice had lulled Kagome into a trance. She was floating weightlessly in golden light. All worries had left her and she was content to drift through this light. From far away, she felt the touch of warm hands on her skin and the soft caress of lips on her face. It was a nice feeling. She did not understand why she had ever tried to resist him. Everything was all right.

She was disappointed when he left her. She tried to call him back and ask him to stay with her. But she had no mouth in that golden light.

Shortly afterwards she felt someone lift her and lay her down onto something soft and comfortable. She heard whispering voices. The golden light around her seemed to get brighter. It warmed her and she relaxed once more.

An indefinite span of time later, her mind slowly left the golden glow. Kagome became aware of her body. Sensations became immediate again. She heard a fire crackle and several voices talking softly. She was lying on a blanket, and another blanket covered her. Her skin was feeling warm again, yet inside she was still cold.

Remembering where she was and how she had got there, she opened her eyes. The flickering fire cast the dancing shadows of several people against the wall. Kagome gathered her strength and sat up.

First her eyes fell on Sango, who was lying next to her, like herself covered with a blanket. She seemed to be still asleep or in trance. Kagome raised her head and looked at the forms that cast the shadows.

Several women were sitting around the fire, their heads bent together. They were very different, some pretty and some plain, but they were all richly dressed. Kagome blinked at them, wondering who they might be.

One of them had apparently noticed that Kagome had woken up. She turned her head and smiled.

‘Oh, you are awake,’ she said kindly. ‘How do you feel?’

The others turned to Kagome as well and looked at her curiously. One of them, a very pretty one, tilted her head to her neighbour and whispered something. The other one nodded.

Kagome blinked. ‘Um …’

The girl who had first addressed Kagome got up and went over to her. Kneeling down, she reached out a hand and laid it on Kagome’s brow.

‘Ah, that’s good. You’re becoming warmer again.’ She had a really kind smile. ‘I suppose, that you are still cold inside though, right?’

‘Er … yes.’

The girl nodded. ‘Yes, that’s only natural. It takes some time till it fades completely. But there’s no need to worry about it.’

Kagome pulled her blanket tighter around her. ‘But … but why am I so cold?’

The girl shrugged. ‘I don’t understand it entirely, but Shujin-sama said that’s due to the nature of his servants. They are made of water, you see; cold water.’

Kagome digested this information. ‘Um …’ Her glance fell on her still sleeping friend. ‘How’s Sango-chan?’

‘She is getting warmer as well. I suppose she really needed sleep, considering that she hasn’t woken up yet.’

Kagome nodded, relived. The looked at the girl in front of her and suddenly remembered her manners. ‘Oh, sorry, I forgot to thank you! So, thank you very much for taking care of me and Sango-chan. By the way, my name is Kagome. Who are you?’

‘My name is Igaku. These,’ she pointed over her shoulder, ‘are my sisters.’

‘Sisters?’ Kagome regarded the other girls. ‘Hey! You are the girls who got kidnapped! And you,’ she looked at Igaku, ‘are the healer, right?’

Igaku blinked. ‘Yes, I am skilled in healing, but how do you know?’

Kagome sat up excitedly. ‘Why, we’ve been looking for you for these last seven or so days! We rescued one girl from being kidnapped by those ghosts, you see, and then heard that several girls were missing from the area, and so we set out to find you. Hey, that’s great! We can try to escape together!’

The girls looked at each other. Finally, one of them shook her head. ‘Escape?’ she said. ‘Why should we want to escape?’

‘Eh?’ Kagome stared at the girl, thinking she couldn’t have heard her correctly. ‘You … you don’t want to escape?’

The girl shook her head and the others murmured in agreement. ‘I want to stay here with Shujin-sama. Why should I want to go back to a tyrannical father who never allows me to do what I want? He always tells me at each time of the day exactly what to do. He even tells me what I am allowed to paint! And then he sells my pictures without asking me! I never see any of the money. He keeps it all to himself!’

She shuddered. Another girl patted her shoulder. The painter lifted her head again and a dreamy smile appeared on her lips. ‘Now, Shujin-sama is different. He never tells me what to paint and he doesn’t criticise me. He likes watching me work. And he always has kind words for me and praises my work! It’s so nice to be with him!’

The other girls nodded enthusiastically.

‘Yes,’ exclaimed one girl in a very lovely, musical voice. ‘He listens to me sing for him …’

‘… and watches me dance for him,’ interjected another.

‘… without ever demanding more!’

The dancer added, ‘He doesn’t grope me or leer at me, and he doesn’t smell of sake or sweat and blood!’

‘And he likes my verses,’ said a fourth, shy voice quietly.

‘He is always kind,’ continued the girl with the beautiful voice.

‘And polite!’

‘He always praises us for our abilities.’

‘He is so handsome and sweet,’ breathed the singer, and the others sighed in unison.

Kagome blinked at them and looked at Igaku, who hadn’t joined the praises. ‘What about you?’

Igaku shrugged. ‘I agree. It is nice to live here with Shujin-sama. We have a roof over our heads, wear pretty clothes, and never have to worry about food. We are safe here. And Shujin-sama is really a nice man. No one minds when he … well, asks for more.’

Kagome gaped at her as a slight blush crept into Igaku’s cheeks. ‘You … you mean you are his … his …’

‘Wives,’ finished the painter.

Kagome snorted. ‘No, you are not. No man can have more than one wife. That’s bigamy and illegal.’

‘But Shujin-sama is not a man. He is a god,’ whispered the shy authoress.

‘Good?’ slurred a new voice, and Kagome turned her head. Sango had opened her eyes and blinked at them.

‘Sango-chan! How do you feel?’

Sango struggled to sit up. ‘Mmm … little odd.’ She pressed a hand against her forehand.

‘Are you still cold?’

‘No, not much …’ Sango looked around and her eyes cleared. ‘What’s going on? Where are we?’

‘You are in Shujin-sama’s house,’ began Igaku, but Kagome interrupted.

‘It’s the temple of the god we’ve been looking for, and these are the other girls he kidnapped and they say they are his wives and don’t want to escape,’ she said in a rush.

Sango digested that slowly. ‘But … why are we here?’

‘Eh?’ Kagome blinked. That was a good question!

‘Shujin-sama had his servants bring you here,’ said Igaku calmly. ‘You are something special and –’

This stirred something in Kagome’s memory. ‘Special?’ She frowned. ‘Yeah, he said that …’ Ignoring the surprise her remark caused among the girls, she turned to Igaku. ‘But what is so special about us?’

Sango giggled. ‘Kagome-chan, you really shouldn’t be astonished that you are considered to be special.’ Kagome snorted, and Sango continued, amused as well as exasperated at her friend’s stubborn disbelief in herself, ‘How many time-travelling mikos do you know?’

‘Miko!’ exclaimed one of the girls. ‘You are a miko?!’

Kagome eyed her a bit uneasily. ‘Well … I’m the reincarnation of a miko and I do have some powers, but I’m not trained and …’

Her voice trailed away at the absolute awe she saw in the girls’ faces. ‘Eh?’ She looked at Sango, who shrugged.

‘A miko,’ breathed Igaku. To Kagome’s astonishment and horror, she bowed.

‘Hey, what are you doing? You don’t have to … stop that!’

The other girls bowed as well, and Kagome became irritated. ‘Stop that! I told you, I’m not trained. I’m not special, you know?’

Igaku raised her head to look at her, and Kagome was taken aback at the expression in her eyes. ‘A miko. A priestess. You will be Shujin-sama’s priestess and the first amongst his wives.’

Kagome’s jaw dropped. She didn’t hear that correctly, did she? ‘W-what? Me? His wife?’

Igaku nodded. ‘Of course! That is why he had brought you here; to become one of us, one of his wives!’

‘One of his concubines,’ spat Kagome. She felt Sango’s hand on her shoulder and tried to calm down. It would do no good if she exploded and offended these girls. After all, it was not their fault.

But Igaku only smiled only at Kagome’s outburst. ‘But I’d rather be a divine concubine than another man’s wife.’

This time, both Sango and Kagome snorted. The girls giggled.

‘And what is you special ability, Sango?’ asked Igaku, a small smile on her lips. Kagome didn’t like it; it was far too smug.

Sango regarded Igaku coolly. ‘Not your business.’

Igaku was undaunted. She eyed Sango’s exposed shoulders. ‘Hm, all these muscles …’ She cast Sango a sharp, shrew glance. ‘A warrior?’

Sango stiffened. ‘Demon exterminator.’

The girls squealed and clapped their hands.

‘Oh, how special!’

‘It is not surprising Shujin-sama wants you!’

‘A miko and a demon exterminator! What a team!’

‘I feel as if I’m in a zoo,’ Kagome murmured under her breath. ‘Only this time, I’m the animal everybody stares at.’

Sango glared at the girls. ‘Does this mean this … this god wants both me and Kagome-chan to become his concubines!?’

The girls nodded and smiled.

‘It is such an honour,’ cooed the painter.

‘And so wonderful,’ whispered the dancer.

‘And we so don’t want to,’ added Kagome sternly.

The concubines started. They looked at each other in surprise and then at the two girls who sat in front of them, arms crossed in front of their chests, with the same dark, stubborn expression on their faces.

‘You … you really don’t want to?’ asked the singer.

‘No,’ bit out Sango. ‘I’ve had my share of men who can’t keep their interest restricted to one girl. If I marry - if - it will be man who will swear on everything that’s holy that he will remain monogamous!’

Kagome nodded enthusiastically.

‘You make it sound so bad that Shujin-sama has more than one wife –’ began Igaku.

‘Because it is!’

‘No, it is not!’ interjected the singer. ‘Really, it isn’t! Shujin-sama is kind and he loves us all!’

‘Of course he does,’ growled Sango. ‘They always do. That’s the problem.’

‘You’ve been hurt by a man,’ dared the author to whisper. ‘Shujin-sama can make it all go away. You will never feel unwanted or unloved again.’

A slight tremble ran through Sango’s body, but she didn’t waver. ‘But if it means I have to share, I’m not interested.’

‘We don’t mind sharing,’ grinned the dancer.

‘Maybe, but we do,’ retorted Kagome, and Sango nodded.

At that moment, the door opening caused an interruption in the discussion. They all turned to the door. Three more girls entered, the first rather small and thin, with a pointed nose and lively eyes. Behind her, two identical girls followed how carried trays.

‘We bring you a nice, hot soup to warm you up,’ announced the first girl cheerfully. She gestured to the twins to set the trays down in front of Sango and Kagome, and then sat down next to Igaku.

‘Hello,’ she said with a carefree smile. ‘My name is Risu. I’m the cook. I hope you like the soup. It’s really very good for warming you up from the inside.’

The twins placed the trays on the floor and with a bow and a smile retreated. Kagome breathed in the scent that wafted from the bowl in front of her. It smelled delicious. Her mouth watered, and after a short exchange of glances with Sango, both took their bowls and sipped the soup. It was even more delicious than it smelled.

While Sango and Kagome were drinking their soup, the concubines whispered with each other. Apparently they told Risu what the new ones had said. Risu raised both eyebrows, nodded, shook her head, gasped, and finally eyed the two girls pensively.

Kagome finished her soup and sat the bowl down, and when she looked up she encountered Risu’s contemplative gaze. She smiled and bowed slightly. ‘The soup was very good, thank you very much,’ she said politely.

Risu beamed at her.

‘Yes, it was really good,’ agreed Sango. ‘And I’m feeling much better than before. Warmer.’

Risu’s smile became brilliant. ‘Thank you, you make me happy,’ she said simply.

Kagome could not help smile back. ‘We’ve heard about you before. People said you were able to make a feast of everything.’

Risu flushed with pleasure, but then her smile faded and she sighed.

‘Yes,’ she said quietly. ‘The people in my village used to say that.’

Kagome nodded and asked tentatively, ‘Do you miss them?’

‘Yes, sometimes. But not very much. And I really don’t miss their nagging and their complaints that I’m lazy when I didn’t cook enough for the rich men from the town. I don’t miss these rich men and their condescension and rudeness, either.’

Kagome’s shoulders sagged a little. ‘You don’t want to go back, then?’

Risu shook her head. ‘No, oh no. I like being here. I get all the ingredients I wish for and don’t have to worry about being left hungry. Everybody likes my cooking. They say nice things to me. Even Shujin-sama; though, he, as a god, does have high expectations.’

She looked from Kagome to Sango and back. ‘But you want to go back, don’t you?’


‘But why?’

‘Eh?’ Kagome blinked. ‘Well, because I don’t want to be his concubine and I don’t like being forced into something and because I want to go back to my friends!’

‘Shujin-sama would never force you!’ exclaimed the dancer in shock.

‘No? Well, I don’t remember coming here on my own free will!’

Risu grabbed Kagome’s hand and patted it. ‘Hush, Odóri-chan. You weren’t as complacent as you are now when you first came here. Let her have the time to become accustomed to the new situation.’

‘You sound like Kudamono-oneechan,’ murmured Odóri.

Risu grinned and winked, and then turned to Kagome and Sango.

‘You are angry now,’ she said calmly. ‘Of course, we’ve all been at first. But you get used to the situation very quickly, and then you don’t want to leave ever again.’

‘But I don’t want to get used to the situation in the first place,’ grumbled Kagome.

‘Me, neither,’ agreed Sango.

The concubines exchanged glances.

Risu inched closer to the two girls. ‘But isn’t Shujin-sama the nicest man you’ve ever met?’

‘So polite!’ – ‘So gentle!’ – ‘So tender!’ echoed the other concubines.

Sango snorted. ‘He did kidnap us.’

Odóri leaned forwards, a mischievous smile lighting her eyes. ‘And isn’t he the most beautiful man you’ve ever seen?’

The concubines nodded in agreement.

‘His hair, his eyes, his body are all perfection,’ enthused one of them.

‘And he has such a wonderful voice,’ added the singer, enraptured.

‘And he is always so gentle!’

‘And so protective!’

Sango blushed furiously and looked down at her hands.

‘Aha!’ exclaimed Odóri. ‘You agree!’

Sango’s head shot up. ‘Yes! But that doesn’t mean I want to stay here!’

Odóri waved her hand dismissively. ‘You will like it once he visited you.’ Before Sango had time to retort, she continued, ‘But what about you, miko-sama?’

Heads turned to her and a faint pink entered Kagome’s cheeks. ‘Um …’

‘Don’t you agree, miko-sama? Isn’t Shujin-sama the most beautiful man you ever saw?’

Kagome fidgeted. ‘Um … well, from an objective point of view he is, I think, but …’

Sango’s eyes widened in sudden understanding. ‘Kagome-chan, you …’

Kagome cast her a fleeting look and blushed furiously.

‘From an objective point of view?’ asked the painter, confused.

‘But?’ prompted Odóri.

‘Well, I think … I mean, I met someone and … well … I think he’s more beautiful than your god,’ she finished in a rush.

The concubines gasped.

‘That’s impossible!’

‘No one can be more beautiful than Shujin-sama!’

‘Who is he? One of your friends?’

‘What does he look like?’

Kagome wished she had kept her mouth closed. But when the girls had described their … husband for lack of better words, a vivid image of Sesshomaru flashed in front of her eyes. All perfection. Gentle. Protective. He had been that and much more when he had helped her with her dragon problem.

A dreamy smile lifted the corners of her mouth as she thought back to that night. Yes, he had been gentle with her. He had held back not to hurt her. And had been so passionate, so wild when she had finally broken his control …

The concubines and Sango watched in shocked amazement as Kagome’s countenance softened and her eyes began to sparkle. The concubines could not understand that any girl would not think their beloved Shujin-sama the most beautiful man on earth, while Sango, knowing what – or better who – her friend was thinking of, sighed inwardly with trepidation. Kagome’s face had always been expressive and this … this was more than gratitude.

Once again, the opening door interrupted important events. Kagome jerked from her day-dreaming and looked at the door. There stood a matronly, but handsome, woman in simple, practical clothes. She had her hands on her hips and regarded the assembled girls like a disproving mother would regard her toddler.

‘Are you still sitting here and chatting?’ she asked sternly, but with a twinkle in her eyes.

The concubines began to explain why they were still in this room and the guests still undressed – all of them at the same time.

The woman in the door shook her head. ‘Silence, girls. I know you. You kept on chatting about Shujin-sama and forgot the world. Did you at least remember to bring them the soup?’

Risu jumped up. ‘Yes, Kudamono-oneechan, I did, and they liked it.’

Kudamono nodded. ‘Good.’ She looked at Kagome and Sango and smiled warmly. ‘Welcome, dears! I hope you feel better now after you got something warm into your stomach. Shujin-sama’s servants are necessary, but … oh, never mind. However, to make sure you won’t catch a cold, I had baths prepared for you. If you will follow me?’

Kagome and Sango hesitated, and Odóri used the opportunity.

‘Kudamono-oneechan, they don’t want to stay! They’ve met Shujin-sama but still want to go back!’

The woman was mildly surprised. ‘Indeed?’

Kagome and Sango nodded fiercely.

Kudamono regarded them for a while, and then smiled again. ‘Well, we shall see. But whether you’ll stay or not, a bath will do you good. Besides, you can’t leave without clothes. Don’t you agree?’

When no protest came, she nodded, satisfied. ‘Well, then. Igaku-chan, Odóri-chan and Fudé-chan, you take this young lady to her bath,’ she pointed at Sango, ‘and Shijin-chan and Risu-chan come with me. Fué-chan, Shujin-sama desires to see you.’

The singer blushed with happiness and hurried out of the room. Kudamono shooed the girls from the room, and then dragged Kagome away. Shijin and Risu followed them.

Kagome tried to resist the woman. ‘Hey, where are you taking me? Why doesn’t Sango-chan come with us?’

‘I am taking you to one of the bathing chambers, child, and your friend is going to another one. The baths are not large enough to accommodate more than one person at a time. Don’t worry.’

With that Kagome had to be content. And though it did sound reasonable, she couldn’t suppress a slight feeling of unease.

She was led through the temple, soon losing her orientation, and then down a staircase into a small room, which was lit by several lamps. The room had been carved out of the rock and housed a small, bubbling hot spring. As soon as she saw it, Kagome dropped the blanket she had wrapped tightly around her and hurried into the hot water. With a sigh, she sank into it.

Kudamono smiled at her from the doorway. ‘Yes, it’s really good to get the last bit of the cold out of your bones, isn’t it?’

Kagome nodded enthusiastically.

Kudamono chuckled. ‘Well, child, take your time. Shijin-chan and Risu-chan will assist you. I will go to bring you some clothes.’

‘Thank you,’ answered Kagome absently.

Risu giggled and handed her a flat bowel that contained a softly shimmering, half-fluid gel. ‘Here, take this. It’s a special kind of soap. Igaku-chan made it. It makes your skin soft.’

Kagome cast her a suspicious glance. ‘Why would I want soft skin?’

‘It feels good,’ whispered Shijin. ‘It looks nice. You will feel more comfortable.’

Risu nodded, smiling, and Kagome accepted. It was odd to bathe while two dressed women were around who insisted on handing her things she could easily have got herself and even washed her hair for her. She was not used to being waited on. But Risu kept a stream of easy chatter, and occasionally even Shijin said a word, and Kagome relaxed.

Just when she got out of the water, the curtain in front of the bathing chamber was pulled aside and Kudamono appeared. She carried a bundle of clothes that she presented to Kagome with a huge smile.

‘Here, my dear, try it. I think it will fit you.’

Kagome took it and was amazed at the smoothness of the cloth and its colour. She held it up to get a better view, and gasped softly. It was a lovely kimono in several shades of pink; the cloth shimmered in the light when she moved it.

‘Wow,’ she breathed. ‘That’s beautiful!’

‘Try it.’

Risu and Shijin stepped forward and helped her into the garment; Shijin’s deft fingers tied her obi into a perfect knot; and then they stepped back and looked at Kagome.

‘Ohhh …’ whispered Shijin. ‘You are so beautiful, miko-sama. You look like a rose!’

Kagome giggled and twirled, unable to resist the excitement of new clothes.

Kudamono smiled indulgently. ‘Yes, indeed. It is very becoming, child.’

Kagome laughed delightedly and glanced down at her body. Her laughter turned into a horrified shriek. Her head shot up and she glanced wildly at the three women. ‘I – I can’t wear that!’

Kudamono clucked her tongue. ‘What is it, child? It fits you well and you look absolutely lovely.’

‘It’s … you can see through it!’

She gazed down again, dismayed at what she saw. The kimono consisted of several layers of cloth, each died in blending shades of pink, but it was see-through nevertheless. Kagome could clearly see the tips of her breasts and the dark locks at the apex of her thighs. The pink seemed to reveal her body more than to conceal it.

She was mortified and looked around for her blanket to cover herself, but saw that it had been removed. Distressed, she held one arm over her breasts, while trying to cover the southern parts of her body with the other hand.

‘You have to bring me something else!’ she demanded.

Kudamono shook her head. ‘There isn’t anything else that would fit you, child, and –’

‘I want the blanket back!’

‘Quiet. Stop acting like a fool.’ Kudamono’s voice had become stern. ‘You can either wear that or go naked. Whatever you prefer.’

Kagome glared at her. ‘I would be thankful for the blanket,’ she said icily.

‘The blanket is out of the question,’ Kudamono replied impatiently. ‘Either this pretty kimono, or nothing.’

Kagome narrowed her eyes, trying to find another solution. But in the end she had to give in. ‘Fine,’ she spat angrily. ‘I’ll wear this costume of a whore. Just don’t believe this makes me more inclined to stay!’

Risu and Shijin gasped behind her back. Kudamono looked furious.

‘How can you -?’

‘It’s not -!’

Kagome stormed past Kudamono and out of the room. The other three women followed her hurriedly. They led her silently back through the temple, since Kagome blocked all attempts at a conversation. Finally, Kudamono gestured to her to step though a shoji door and into a large but cosy room. Several lamps hung from the ceiling; a fire burned in the grate; cushions were piled everywhere, and next to the grate stood a narrow table on which lay another tray.

‘We had some food prepared for you,’ said Kudamono stiffly. ‘You will wait here for Shujin-sama.’

With that, the three women retreated. The door closed behind them, and Kagome heard the unmistakable sound of a bolt shifted into place. Her insides turned cold again, and she ran to the door and shook it. It didn’t open.

She looked around wildly, but there were no other doors and no windows. She was trapped once again. Kudamono’s words echoed in her ears. You will wait here for Shujin-sama.

Kagome sobbed in mixed anger and fear and sank onto a cushion.

Oh, great kami, please, please, get me out of here! She shivered as she folded her hands to prayer.

I’m trapped in the temple of a god who wants to make me his concubine. They made me wear a completely see-though kimono! I want to get out of here! I don’t want to become this god’s concubine. I need help. Someone help me!

Divine Concubine

A InuYasha Story
by CiraArana

Part 6 of 11

<< Previous     Home     Next >>