Edge of Paradise

BY : QueenoftheDream
Category: InuYasha > Het - Male/Female > Sessh?maru/Kagome > Sessh?maru/Kagome
Dragon prints: 4281
Disclaimer: I do not own Inuyasha, nor the characters from it. I made no money in writing this fiction.

1497, Sunpu

Kagome shielded her eyes against the bright midday sun as she stepped out of the shrine and gazed at the great silhouette before her, shifting her bow and quiver around the small bundle of supplies on her back. The shrine maidens in training were hustling and bustling around the little shrine at the base of Mount Fuji as Kagome made her way down the slope and out into the world, deftly sweeping her hair up with a white silk ribbon as she walked. Little did she know that it would be the last time she would see the great mountain from such an intimate perspective. Ethereal white wisps of clouds hovered around the summit, hiding the snow-capped crest of the mountain from view.

Earlier in the morning, a message had arrived at the shrine from Edo, a small fishing village approximately a week's travel to the east. According to the messenger, a specter had inhabited the area for several years, but the spirit had very recently begun acting up with progressively worse behavior as time had passed. The village was requesting the assistance of a trained miko in order to attempt to solve or at least alleviate the problem. Kagome, being eighteen years of age, was the only priestess of age remaining in the shrine and thus was obligated to take on the mission. After receiving the task, she was left to collect her supplies for the immediate journey to Edo despite the glaring lack of details pertaining to the assignment. Brief goodbyes were issued, and Kagome was sent on her way.

This is where Kagome found herself: alone, on her way out of the only home she'd ever truly known, in search of a wild rampaging demon. She adjusted the pack upon her shoulders as she finished the descent down a particularly steep hill that hid Fuji-san from view. Beads of sweat rolled down her neck to soak into the collar of her white hakui. The knot of the silken pack tied at her throat grated uncomfortably against the hollow of her neck. Rays of hot summer sunlight beat down relentlessly upon her head. As she stumbled over yet another one of the many hidden rocks embedded in the ground, she silently cursed the gangs of bandits and rogues that made travel via roads impossibly dangerous. With a slight ironic smile crinkling the skin around her eyes, Kagome internally gave a dry commentary on the sad fact that human bandits were a greater threat to her livelihood than the majority of demons, ghosts, and spirits.

Cicadas hummed in the thick, humid air. She could feel her long hakama start to stick to the sweaty flesh of her legs, and she gave a small huff of annoyance at the nuisance. However, with a small shake of the head, she decided instead to think on her awaiting charge in Edo. She ran over a mental checklist of what was to be expected of the situation. Demon run rampant: check. Village living in terror: check. Bloodbath awaiting her: most likely. Prospects of decent payment or at least a place to sleep after the demon's defeat: fairly bleak. Chances of the problem magically solving itself: absolutely zero.

What truly puzzled her was the lack of detail in the job description. The messenger had not mentioned the type of demon that had been wreaking havoc or the people it had been targeting. No mention had been made of the time of the attacks or the nature of them. Were any actions taken by the villagers or other miko to solve the problem? Was the creature even targeting humans, or was its aim only the destruction of livestock and buildings? She had no clue. The man hadn't even said what the wretched thing looked like. It was as if she was essentially flying blind and unarmed into a dark room, blindfolded and deafened, with the only knowledge of her surroundings and situation being "not dead… maybe." She was hoping that the village miko in Edo would be able to tell her more upon her arrival.

Kagome blew an errant lock of hair from in front of her eyes, which promptly flopped over and stuck to the side of her face. The air around her was stagnant and heavy, and no trace of a breeze was to be found. Despite just recently emerging from springtime, the weather gave the impression of being late summer with the oppressive humidity.

She stopped and looked up at the sky, grateful that the majority of the sun was covered by a cloud. By her rough calculations, she had approximately four hours until sunset, which meant around four hours until she was able to stop and make camp for the night.

Her shoulders slumped forward, but she trudged on through the thick grass. A drawn-out sigh fell from her parted lips. "This is going to be a long few days…"


***Ack, I know this chapter is super short. I apologize. I promise, the following chapters will be longer! :D

Also, a hakui is the white top worn by priestesses. They're often lumped in with haori, but I read that it's actually called a hakui. However, traditional hakui are worn with a skirt-style hakama, as opposed to the pants-style depicted in the anime/manga, as traditional hakui are ankle-length. I choose to believe, therefore, that the "haori" worn by the Inuyasha universe miko is simply a shortened version of the hakui (perhaps thigh-length) that's worn over a kosode (a simple undershirt that is the white fabric you see underneath the sleeve slits) and tucked and tied in place with a koshihimo (sash) that is not visible beneath the hakama. Fun (and confusing) fact for the day. I used a lovely article on dokuga as a reference. If anyone is interested, I can link it to you.

Also, I very loosely based Kagome's home shrine upon Fujisan Hongu Sengen Taisha. Very loosely.

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