There once was a king who loved his queen, and a queen who loved her king. They lived in a happy kingdom that was proud of their queen’s beauty and integrity, and thankful for their king’s wisdom and kindness. Sadly, their happily ever after had come and gone, leaving the queen deathly ill and the king in deep depression.
It was late into the night when happiness truly ended. The room was dimly lit by candles. The queen lay on a pallet, a warm glow cast onto her deathly pale skin. The black wing of hair spread beneath her only helped to accentuate her pallor. This served to add to her renowned beauty, one fought over before won by her lord, her king, her love.
Her eyes had glazed long ago as the fever dragged her into the final stage of her life. She knew it was coming, even before the healer had given up and informed her there was nothing more to be done, she had known. Kikyou had always had a talent with premonitions, a product of spiritual power. And so now she waited, held onto life by a string, for her husband and king to come to her and see her off.
The screen door slid open and then closed. She felt the familiar presence of her love by her side and moved into the calming touch of his hand on her cheek before fingers brushed her fringe from her forehead.
“Naraku-sama, my love, you came,” she said, her voice a murmur.
“I would never ignore your call for me, Kikyou. It is sure now?” His voice was deep, hard and masculine, but she could still read him. He was hurting at the loss of her already.
She turned her head to focus her eyes on her love and lord. His reddish-brown eyes watched her intently, his waving dark locks falling about his pale face as he looked down on her. She saw pain there, and the worry.
“Do not fear for me, my love. I have no fear of my death and so you should have none.”
Taking her hand in his he bowed over it, hiding his pained face from her. His shoulders trembled as he fought with his emotions.
“I fear for what I will do once you are gone my love, for I know you will be well where ever you end up. Will I be able to live without you? Will I want to?” His voice pained, though his face remained hidden.
Trepidation for her king swept through Kikyou. He spoke of taking his life or allowing himself to die, just so he could follow her. Though she would miss him, she could not allow it, if only for their daughter. With what little strength she had left, she clenched his hand tightly, causing him to look up at her. Determination glinted in her eyes as she held his gaze.
“You must go on without me, Naraku, my love. If not for the kingdom than for our baby girl, who you would be leaving behind as I am now. My one regret is leaving the two of you, her for the mother she will never know and you for the love we have shared.” Her voice failed her for a moment, and she struggled to draw breath. “When you marry again, and you will for you still need an heir, then marry one of grace, great beauty and spirituality. Do you promise me this, Naraku, love?”
He watched her for a few moments. Anger flashed in his eyes for a moment and she knew he hated that she was forbidding him to follow her.
Her breath caught as a flash of weakness ran through her. Her eyes fluttered as she tried to hold on a little longer, but she knew her time was short now.
“Promise me!” she whispered. Her voice was filled with the anxiety felt at the thought of his dying.
He hovered over her, fear and concern etched in every line of his body. “Kikyou?”
“I promise, I promise my love. I will only marry one who’s grace, beauty and spirituality rivals yours. She will be worthy of taking your place, I swear it!”
There was no strength left, nothing left to hold onto. She was drifting away, the feel of the physical world dissolving as she drifted from her body. Even so, the image of her love remained as she watched him watch her die. Finally, even that dissolved into washes of colour as she was swept away, the eerie, heart wrenching cry of her name following her into the next life.