Continuing Tales

Tales from the House of the Moon

A InuYasha Story
by Resmiranda

Part 10 of 42

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Tales from the House of the Moon

The library of Tokyo University was ridiculously dusty, and not for the first time Kagome wished she had brought a face mask to protect herself from the flying dust motes that seemed to gravitate to her nose, but bygones were bygones. Resolutely, she reached for another scroll, releasing another cloud of dust. Kagome sneezed.

It had been two weeks since she had returned, and she was finally caught up on her work. Since her high school illnesses had almost been a factor in keeping her out of university, it hadn't been difficult for her mother to convince the administration that Kagome was down and out with a horrible case of pneumonia, and she was able to take her midterms when she returned, even though all she really wanted to do was crawl into a hole.

She wasn't feeling much better today as she flipped through centuries of myths and fables, looking for one that might possibly be about her. Kagome couldn't count the number of times she had lain in bed and stared out the window, beating herself up. She should have stayed, should have looked for Sango and Miroku, should have found Shippou. She had let Inuyasha blind her to her friends – again. And now that the well was closed once more, the reality of how much she missed them hit her again.

Kagome felt selfish.

She sighed heavily and grabbed another scroll. She'd looked through so many that they were all beginning to blend together; the fables were so similar that it was almost impossible to tell if she had read this one or that one. Titles flew by, each of them just as nondescript and opaque as the last one – The Mirror of Matsuyama, The Two Frogs, The Lord of the Land, and The Descent from Heaven. Some of them were familiar, while others she had never heard of before; it didn't really matter, since after a while they all began to blur in her mind. Kagome felt a headache coming on.

Slowly she unrolled the scroll in front of her and smoothed it with the backs of her hands – Tenaeda-sensei, beaming cherubically, had cautioned her against touching valuable old scrolls with her fingers or palms because the oils and sweat released could damage the paper and the ink – and began to read.

It was slow going – the language wasn't exactly archaic since the scroll had been made at the turn of the century, just a little difficult to read – but as she practiced Kagome found herself getting into the flow of the words. Stories about kitsunes and stonecutters and Sea Kings rolled by beneath her eyes, and Kagome may well have spaced out until something caught her eye.


Just a tiny word, and yet it crashed into her like a sack of bricks. Kagome bent over further and squinted at the text of the extremely short fable, reading the title in a soft whisper.

"The Hime and the Dog Prince..." she breathed. Quickly she glanced at the approximate dates for the supposed genesis of the fairytale: 1590-1620.

The Dog Prince. Sesshoumaru.

Irrationally, Kagome felt annoyed, and a little betrayed. It was the ghost of an emotion, light and airy, just a shimmering shadow of the way it felt to know that Inuyasha and Kikyou had moved on with their lives – together – while she had been left behind to linger in a love that wasn't meant to be.

But that was ridiculous. She half wanted to close the scroll and move on, but curiosity grabbed her, made her pay attention.

Gritting her teeth, Kagome shoved the feeling aside, and began to read.

'Once there was a beautiful princess by the name of Machiko. She was known far and wide for her beauty, and her kindness and compassion made her even more beautiful in the eyes of her suitors. But she turned them all away, preferring instead to stay with her father and mother in their castle by the western sea. She was an only child, and doted on with much care and love.

'One day as Machiko was out on her father's lands, she strayed from her party and found herself lost in the woods. At first she was calm and called for help, but as all around her the sounds of the forest gradually pressed down upon her, she was filled with dread. Fearing for her life, she began to run.

'She was beautiful and fleet of foot, like a deer, but her fear blinded her to the danger, and Machiko found her ankles snagged by tree roots and she fell to the earth, crying piteously.

'It came to pass that the prince of dogs was strolling through the forest and heard her weeping. Moved by her sad tears he ran swiftly to her aide, but when he reached her he was struck dumb by her beauty, and he picked her up and dried her eyes. He kissed her in the darkness of the forest and made her his own, and she was so grateful that he had come to her and so awed by his presence that she gladly went to him.'

Kagome stopped reading and shook her head, trying to suppress the blush that was creeping over her face. She wondered how she would feel if hundreds of years in the future people were reading about her sexual indiscretions with demons in the woods. Not to mention that Sesshoumaru wasn't bad to look at, but he was such a jerk most of the time that she couldn't imagine any pampered princess wanting to be… ah… "made his own." Or perhaps he wasn't a jerk to pretty girls in the woods.

Kagome found herself becoming more and more annoyed with the story, and inexplicably more and more miserable with her life. She pressed her lips into a thin line and continued reading.

'When Machiko was finally found, she told no one of her adventure, but it soon became apparent that she was with child, and was forced to admit her indecencies.

'Her father and mother were horrified, and insisted she give up the child, but Machiko was firm. She would not leave her baby to the elements. She cried and pleaded with her parents but they remained implacable. Her child would be a hanyou and unable to take on the succession. For the honor of the family, she would have to kill the child.

'Machiko wept bitterly and laid awake many nights, searching for a solution.

'And it came to pass that a wandering miko was passing through the north – '

Kagome stopped, feeling ridiculous and sad at the same time.

...a wandering miko...

She felt like banging her head against something very hard and immovable. A miko, again. And it was probably her. She was like an annoying satellite, revolving around Sesshoumaru's stupid life, fixing his mistakes and then being relegated to a footnote in the pages of history. She wanted to scream.

'And it came to pass that a wandering miko was passing through the north, and one night Machiko, heavy with child, made the journey to visit her and seek her counsel.

'The miko listened, quietly and compassionately, to the tragic story of Machiko. When the hime had finished, the miko laid a hand on her belly and told her the baby would be strong, and healthy, and would be a joy.

'"I will seek the father of your child," the miko assured her, "and he will know his son. Be at peace."

'When the hime heard these words, she was calmed. She rose and returned to her home by the sea, and in three days time she gave birth to a baby boy with a full head of hair and a powerful cry and the tail of a dog.

'The prince of the dogs, hearing that his son was born, returned to her side by the sea and took his son and brought him back to the north, where he was reared to be strong and powerful.

'Machiko, on the other hand, bereft of her child, refused to ever love another, and lingered on the shore of her home, weeping for her baby, and for the man who left her, for the remainder of her days.'

There the story ended.

Kagome frowned and sat back, barely refraining from scratching her head. The silence in the old, dusty rooms was oppressive.

"That was it?" she finally said aloud. "That's what I've been looking for?" Immediately she felt silly for talking to herself even though the library was empty, but she couldn't shake the feeling of disbelief. It was like looking for a treasure and when the chest was finally opened, all that was in it were bolts of cloth. Pretty, and probably valuable, but not what she was looking for.

And Kagome could help but have the feeling that there was something wrong with the story, too, something not quite right. She felt like someone had remembered it incorrectly, or she was remembering it differently than the way it had been recorded, but that was impossible.

But it didn't matter, did it? She had found what she wanted – another fairytale that she might be a part of, another gateway to the past, to the friends who might still be alive. The presence of the Dog Prince and the miko almost guaranteed that she was meant to leap through the well again.

It was almost a duty, then, wasn't it? The thought made her feel better.

Kagome drew out her notebook and carefully copied the story into it so she would know what to do before clearing up the mess she had made and walking down the stairs to the ground floor and out the front door.

For the first time in weeks, her heart felt light again, and in her mind's eye she created a world, after her duty was done, in which she found Sango and Miroku and Shippou and they laughed and embraced and she wouldn't be lonely any longer.

A/N: See? The story's not done yet! By a long shot... *weeps quietly* I intentionally made the fairytale shorter and less epic this time for a reason. And, um, don't hate me! You'll see why in the coming chapters, but everything is not as it seems. It never is, anyway.

Tales from the House of the Moon

A InuYasha Story
by Resmiranda

Part 10 of 42

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