"Try and catch me if you can!"
"Get back here Akane-chan!"
It was a bright summer day as the children in the village ran around and played. Their parents already hard at work keeping the crops ripe and plentiful. New mothers strolled around with their newborns, talking to other village women.
Though one little girl looked on with envious eyes. She watched the mothers talk, the children play, and silently wondered,
"Why can't I be like that?"
All her life it had been blatantly obvious that she was not normal. The village always kept her locked away like an animal. She didn't have friends and as far as she knew she didn't have a family either.
"Kagome-chan why aren't you meditating? You're supposed to be training." The young child turned to the voice of teacher. Midoriko-sama. She was a renowned warrior priestess, the strongest the world had ever seen, and was hired by the headmaster to protect the village.
"I'm sorry Midoriko-sama, but it's so nice today. I want to go play." Kagome gave her teacher the best pout she could muster, and failed miserably.
"Kagome how many times do I have to tell you that your training is more important than playing." Sighing the older woman crouched next to her student wiping away her tears of disappointment.
"I really wish I could let you leave here Kagome. So you could be free to do as you like, but I can't. You're different, special, and you need to be careful. Remember how I told you one day you'll be very strong? Maybe even stronger than me?" Wiping the last of her tears and nodding her head Kagome continued to listen.
"You are key to the survival of this world. You're the only one with power to bring about change, but there are people who will stand in your way. There are people who want you dead. They have no sympathy and don't care if you're only a child. Until I have taught you all I can it's my duty to protect you. Do you understand me?"
"Yes Midoriko-sama." The seven year old said.
"Good girl. Now finish meditating and we'll start our next lesson."
The sun faded and bright blue sky dulled to black. Villagers blew out their lamps and put their families to bed. A quiet hush fell over the town as its residents closed their eyes for the night.
Convinced that no one else was awake Kagome sat up in her bed. She looked around, slipping off her sleeping yukata to reveal clothes underneath. Grabbing the pack she had hidden Kagome made a break for the door.
She was sick of being held prisoner. She had no freedom, no life, no family, and no friends. No one would miss her when they found her empty bed in the morning.
'You are key to the survival of this world.' She didn't even know what that meant. It didn't matter anyway. She would runaway from this place, find a new home, and start over.
A new place sounded like fun. A place where she could play as much as she liked.
"Maybe I'll even find my mommy and daddy." She whispered. Though Midoriko-sama tried to shield her from the vicious rumors they seemed to always float past her ears.
Apparently she had been found as a baby alone covered in dirt and grime. Abandoned by her family and left for dead until a kind villager brought her to the headmaster. She'd been here ever since.
Making her way silently through the halls she concentrated to conceal her aura as Lady Midoriko had taught her weeks ago.
Thinking of the woman a pang rang through Kagome's heart. She felt like she betraying her teacher by leaving. Lady Midoriko seemed to be the only person in the world who truly cared about her.
'Until I have taught you all I can it's my duty to protect you.' Sneaking past the sleeping guards Kagome ran towards the edge of the village. Stopping before she entered the woods she turned around to look back at the head master's castle.
"I'll miss you Midoriko-sama. You taught me a lot and I promise to keep myself safe." With those words she took off into the night.
Midoriko floated in a world between dreams and reality. Her conscious mind could since something amiss in the castle, but in her dreamlike state it was hard to tell what it was.
Behind her eye lids she saw someone running. She could hear them panting trying to catch their breath, but in too big of hurry to stop. She heard the sound of twigs snapping under their weight and the whips of branches as the prey ran from its predator.
"Someone help me!" A child. There was child running for their life, and by the pitch it was a little girl. The girl tripped falling flat on her face. The roar of a demon brought Midoriko back into the world of reality. With a gasp she sprang from her bedding.
She ran down the hall into Kagome's room to find it empty.
Quickly making her way back to her room Midoriko dressed in her priestess garb and armor. Grabbing her sword she made her way to the front of the castle not so gently waking up the sleeping guards.
"Wake up this instant! Kagome is missing and if she is not returned healthy and whole it will be on your heads!"
Snapping to the guards followed the lady, hoping the little girl wasn't in as much trouble as she was causing.
After wandering around the woods for twenty minutes Kagome was starting to regret her decision to leave the castle. It too dark for her to see, and it was getting colder.
Stoping suddenly Kagome listened to her surroundings. The sounds of night filling her ears. She felt wrong. She felt it in the pit of her stomach that something was really really wrong.
"All priestesses are gifted with exceptional intuition Kagome. As a priestess you must always trust your instincts. Never doubt yourself, for doubt often leads to death."
"What if my instincts are wrong?" The child asked innocently.
"You must learn to trust yourself wholeheartedly Kagome."
The scene replayed over and over in her mind. Just when she took a step and twig snapped under her foot.
All hell broke loose.
An ugly demon flew from the shadows and straight at her. Running as fast as her small legs could carry her Kagome ran through the woods looking for anything or anyone to save her. She panted harder the longer she ran. She couldn't tell if the demon was still chasing her, but she was too afraid to stop. Looking back she tripped over a tree root she never saw coming.
Her eyes fell on the demon still trying to pursue her.
"Someone help me!"
She threw her hands up in a measly attempt to protect herself. She waited for the demon's claws to tear into her flesh, but the pain never came. She heard the demon screech in pain.
"Nasty demon. Pick on someone your own size next time."
Hearing the voice gave Kagome the courage to open her eyes. Her deep indigo eyes widened as they fell on her savior.
Even in the dark his sliver hair glistened in the moonlight. Turning his head her eyes locked with his Topaz orbs. He was the most beautiful thing she'd ever seen. Dressed in a red kimono the bright silver and dark red contrasted perfectly. Moving past his eyes her vision landed on his puppy ears and she broke out into a wide smile.
"Wow." She said in wonder.
"Stop starin' would ya?" he said irritably. Crossing his arms over his chest. She continued to stare at him, when she heard voices off in the distance.
"Kagome! Kagome where are you?" The young boy's ears swiveled in the direction of the noise. As the noise began to increase his ears twitched all the more. He set himself in the opposite direction prepared to leave as quickly as he had came when her voice stopped him.
"Wait!" He turned to face her and saw the rosy blush staining her chubby cheeks.
"Um thanks for saving me." She said sheepishly.
"Keh." Was his gruff reply. He turned back to his original position and sprang into the trees.
"Kagome! There you are!"
"Midoriko-sama!" Running to her teacher Kagome broke out into sobs. She apologized through her tears. Her promises of training hard and never running away again lost in her hiccups.
"Hush child. Explain everything to me in the morning okay?" Grabbing the woman's hand Kagome made her way back to the village. Turning to face the woods she couldn't help but wonder if she'd ever she that boy again.
"Maybe next time we can play together."
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InuYasha © Rumiko Takahashi.
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