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The Forbidden Garden by Take-bamboo

The Forbidden Garden

The forbidden garden 禁止の庭園

The castle of the western land was built high up in a mountain. It had many different blocks of buildings and was well protected with a defensive wall surrounding it. When one stood along the corridor of the different wings of each building, one could view breathtaking scenes of the Western lands. Every building in the castle served different purposes, there was one for administration works, another for military, etc. Every day, hundreds of workers living in the Western castle will start their daily routine, with the guards guiding at respective venues, maids preparing food and brewing tea and scholars writing reports and analyzing statistics. They would be busy streaming around in the castle, except for one place- the forbidden garden.

The youkais know not of what was in the forbidden garden. Except that it was hidden behind the left building and it was secluded and protected with a barrier. The youkais usually did not pay attention to it as the Western Lord had prohibited Youkais of any rank to step foot into the place.

Curiosity grew among very few youkais and the topic about who resided in the place was only gossiped once in a blue moon. The first rumor came when a handful of humans were seen loitering in the forbidden garden by some youkais. It was said that the humans were slaves of the Western Lord. These humans had all committed crimes and their punishments were to work in the forbidden garden for life. Some who questioned why the Western Lord did not just end the humans' misery life suggested that the lord kept them for further torturing. It has been more than a decade since that no one solved the mystery.

Five years ago, a tori youkai tried to find out what lies behind the barrier and flew across the stonewalls that concealed the forbidden garden. It was rumored it came across a human slave and questioned the human slave. However, the tori youkai was unable to get any answers, as the human slave was mute. Disappointed, the tori youkai prepared to leave the place but was caught red handed by the Western lord himself. Inevitably, the tori youkai was punished, it was tortured badly, and its feathers were plucked off before it was burnt alive. Since then, no one dared to try to step close to the barrier anymore and little was mentioned about the forbidden garden.

Not until, the young prince of the Western lands turned ten.

The young prince was the only heir of the Western land at the moment. He was given the name, Yoshiaki by the lord and grew up under the great care and guidance of various female youkais in the nursery. The birth and the mother of the young prince were yet another mystery to the youkais in the Western lands, which no one dared to raise these questions to the Western Lord.

Yoshiaki was brought up by many female youkais, who were all mates of high ranking officials and generals. The youkais in the Western lands adored Yoshiaki and was always captivated by his beautiful sapphire eyes. They knew the young prince must have inherited this rare eye colour from his mother for their lord had golden eyes. Other than that, the young prince looked exactly like the Western lord.

Though Yoshiaki grew up with his foster mothers, who showered him with much love and care, he began to question about who was his biological mother. Gradually, he yearned for his mother's touch, care and most of all love. He felt that the strongest when he saw his playmates, the pups of his foster mothers, being hugged and nuzzled by their mothers. He was not jealous of them, just felt empty, like a part of him was missing.

Yoshiaki dreamt of his mother. However, in these dreams, it was always a woman figure hugging him closely with her arms and singing lullabies to him. He could not see the face of the lady, only the shining sapphire eyes that were looking at him dearly.

He tried asking his foster mothers about his mother but they all gave him the same respond. "That I do not know, Yoshiaki sama." Then, he tried asking the guards, the kitchen maids, the gardeners, his teachers, the generals, anyone he came upon across but no one could give him an answer he wanted.

One day, a general suggested to him. "My little lord, why don't you ask Lord Sesshoumaru about this matter? I am sure the lord will answer your question."

So, Yoshiaki went to ask his father. He walked down the corridors and came to the lord's working room. He knocked and went in. His father was busy reading the pile of papers on his desk. Paperworks.don't think would like that at all when I grow up.

"Good morning, father." Yoshiaki bowed and greeted respectfully. He was taught well.

The western lord did not look up but continued his work, totally ignoring his son's greeting. Bur Yoshiaki saw his father ears twitched slightly.

Yoshiaki hesitated for a while and continued timidly, "Father, can you tell me about mother?"

Again, the western lord did not lift up his head but continued his paperwork. However, Yoshiaki noticed his father slight jerk at the question. He waited quietly for a while, hoping his father would answer him. Still, his father continued to give him the cold shoulder.

Perhaps,fatherdidnothearme?Yoshiaki thought and he bit his lips as he tried again to gain his father's attention. "Father, this Yoshiaki would like to know about his mother." Yoshiaki said with a louder voice.

This time, his father looked up from his paperwork and stared at him coldly and said, "Leave now, there is no need for you to know her."

"But father, she is my mother. At least tell me something about her, anything. You know so much about grandmother. So why can't I? " Yoshiaki requested quickly, felling slightly angered by his father's respond.

His father looked at him, no at his face, straight in the eyes. He seemed to be in deep thoughts. Maybe my eyes made father think of mother.The colour of his mother's eyes was all what Yoshiaki knew about her.

"Please…." Yoshiaki pleaded.

The Western Lord looked at his son, his only heir. The boy had never talked about this matter to him before. Why now? Her eyes. He had decided not to say anything about her to anyone and the boy was no exception.

"You inherited her sapphire eyes." The lord said, in a tone as if he was talking about the weather.

"I know that father. I want to know something else. Like is mother still alive? Is mother safe? What is she like? Where is mother?" Yoshiaki was annoyed by his father's respond, stating the obvious to him.

"She still breathes and is well protected, Yoshiaki. However, this is all you can know. Now leave the room."

"But father…." He wanted to know more.

"LEAVE!"

"Ye..s, father." He said reluctantly, half frightened and half shocked by his father's tone. Hurriedly, he left the room and began to head for his own building. His heart was still beating furiously by his father's command but he was overjoyed. He knew something that no one in the castle knew.

His mother is alive.

 

INUYASHA © Rumiko Takahashi/Shogakukan • Yomiuri TV • Sunrise 2000
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