"No penance can your hard heart find
save such as you long since have taught me to endure."
She sits before him with her legs folded neatly and her fan spread wide and dark before her face. Her eyes are black and gleam with a certain promise; the shadow of her hair is skeins of silk thread unraveled wild and lovely down her back.
“You summoned me, Sesshomaru-dono?”
“Yes. I have need of your special talents, Mitsubachi”
The fan closes slowly, ss-ss-ss-tlink. Her lips are red; red as blood; they part faintly, a sensual summons, and then they smile.
“Very well. Who is the target, this time?”
“You should know; there is only one I cannot call out myself.”
The one he calls Mitsubachi freezes for half a moment; in that space, her features grow as emotionless as the steel, stoic face before her.
Then she smiles again, and this time there is something mocking in it, a hint that he recognizes.
“You must mean the Rebel Emperor.”
“He is just a rebel!”
She opens her fan again, waves it thoughtfully.
“And do you require information, or -”
He breathes a thunderous growl.
“I want him dead, woman! I want him dead; or I would not have summoned you. Give him neither mercy nor forgiveness; give him only a blood stained death.”
Mitsubachi lets out a breath, looks at him from the corner of her eye. He is watching her body, not her face; so typically male – yet as always, he makes no move to touch her.
“Should I assume you have made the necessary arrangements?”
“Yes. An invitation to the rebel's court is waiting on the table; you may take it on your way out.”
“Well then, Sesshomaru-dono...the task is within my skills, and you have provided access. I await your offer with an open mind.”
“The same as always; one dead rebel, one thousand gold Inu for your trouble.”
She shakes her head and once again closes her fan, taps it against her palm.
“This is not the same as always, Sesshomaru-dono. This particular engagement carries more risk. He is the Rebel Emperor – I will be lucky to escape with my life once he is dead.”
His growl grows again, but he doesn't deny that she speaks truth.
“I am...appreciative of the extra risk. I will give you ten times your usual fee – or twenty. I do not care for gold, for money – I want this thorn removed from my side.”
She bows low before him.
“The terms are acceptable. Twenty thousand gold Inu, and I will take care of your thorn. Await my return, Sesshomaru-dono. I will come bearing good news, or someone else will come bearing my head.”
He shakes his head at her.
“Unacceptable. I require your success.”
“And I will endeavor not to follow Rin's example.”
He snarls; the girl had been his favorite, but Mitsubachi had never believed in her skill...and the girl had proved her right when she had failed her last task and died for it.
“Did you send her to the Rebel Emperor?”
She left, and took her invitation with her.
That night, Mitsubachi dresses in beautiful robes, adorns her hair with elaborate ornaments, and tucks the invitation Sesshomaru has obtained for her into her sleeve. She goes out in an inconspicuous carriage; only when she arrives at the rebel encampment did she draw open the shutters and show her face.
No invitation is required. They know her, and pass her immediately. It is the same at the door to the Rebel Emperor's chamber. Guards stand there, but they bow to her, speak in unison as they open the door.
“Good evening, Kagome-onee-chan!”
“Good evening, Ginta, Hakkaku. How is my lord tonight?”
A/N: Presenting part one of five of my summer smut madness tournament round two entry! All epigraph quotes are from Murasaki Shikibu's “Genji Monogatari”; my edition is translated by Seidenstucker. Remember, there's three other fics in round two, so read them all – and then vote! Ballots will be made available in the forum by the Tournament Mastah, the mighty Kayelyn, within a few days – so keep an eye open, and remember: SMUT IS GOD.