Switched by Sage McMae

Chapter 1

Duty. Her freedom had been snatched away by a single four-letter word. 

It was not the first time in her short life that Kikyo wished she had been born an average woman. Her life was determined by innate spiritual abilities which were revered by everyone, even her younger sister. It was an honor, the greatest that could be bestowed upon a woman of her humble origins, but it came at a price. Kikyo did not get to choose how she would spend her days. Her path was already set. 

She stood upon the hillside, a sole silhouette against the setting sun. Stretched out before her were the lands she had sworn to defend. Fields sprawled across the horizon, divided by the rivers and streams that watered their crops and sustained them. Closest to her vantage point was the village she had grown up in. Erected at its center was the Shikon Shrine. It served as a reminder of the oath she had taken to protect the heavy burden around her neck. 

And the reason why she couldn’t be with him

Kikyo kept her back to the tranquil forest where they had met. Facing that place only worsened the ache in her chest. The hollow pain had been growing for days. Ever since the decree had arrived, she had counted the hours until the last ounce of her independence was removed.    

She thought he would meet her here. It would be a lie to say Kikyo hadn’t expected him to come charging up the hill with a plan to run away. Even as the sun set, she remained hopeful for one final glimpse of white hair and golden eyes. 

Inuyasha always appeared when she needed him. Kikyo was certain this time would be no different. 

It was ironic that the one thing she couldn’t have— the one thing she never thought she’d want —was now at her fingertips, yet just out of reach. In vowing to protect these lands and keep the jewel secure, Kikyo had also signed away her right to choose.

Perhaps she could have gone knowing that it was impossible,— that there was no way they could ever be together —but fate was cruel. The opportunity had arose where she could find happiness in the arms of another.

When the Daimyo’s sealed letter arrived in the village, Kikyo had been surprised. Moments later, when she read his family name, her heart had fluttered.

And then it had died.

Her chance at a normal life came at a terrible cost. Kikyo would never be able to be with the man she loved. She was to wed his brother.

Lord Sesshomaru was a cunning warrior with a powerful reputation. If his position as Touga’s firstborn son wasn’t impressive enough, his prowess on the battlefield was. The only quality that patrolled his skill was his overt disdain for humanity. Kikyo suspected that he’d sooner cut her down than take her as his mate.

“It appears I did not need to wait long for the curse to take effect,” a cold voice said.

Kikyo lifted her gaze to the newcomer. Tsubaki stepped toward her, a twisted grin adorning her face.

“You have tarnished your soul,” Kikyo told her.

“Perhaps, but at least I haven’t sacrificed my powers for sentimentality,” the dark priestess returned.

Kikyo did not respond. Any argument she posed would be in vain. Tsubaki was correct. Her powers had diminished considerably since meeting Inuyasha.

With each passing day, Kikyo had grown to love him more. It did not matter that he was a half-demon. She knew she could trust him with her heart. As a result, her abilities began to fade.

“I am in no mood for your venomous words. Leave,” Kikyo instructed her.

“You do not command me,” Tsubaki snapped.

She flipped her wrist and the atmosphere changed. The air around them became charged as though a thunderstorm was about to break over their heads.

Kikyo reached over her shoulder, plucking an arrow from her quiver. “Don’t do anything foolish, Tsubaki,” she warned.

“I’m not the fool here. You’re weak— weak enough that I can finally take what’s mine.”

“The Shikon Jewel is under my care. That will never change,” Kikyo told her.

“It will if you die,” Tsubaki retorted, releasing a shikigami.

The white-horned serpent sprung forth from her hands, his mouth opened wide.

Kikyo released her arrow. The arrowhead collided with the hinge of the serpent’s jaw and sliced the evil spirit in two. His severed body dropped to the dirt.

“You still haven’t learned,” Kikyo remarked.

Tsubaki’s smirked at the snake’s remains. “Or maybe I have.”

Miasma rose from the shikigami’s corpse. Kikyo drew her sleeve over her face and backed away.

“You see, I intend to keep my youth and the Shikon Jewel is the only way I can make that happen. Hand it over.”

“Never,” Kikyo refused.

“Pity. You would have made a lovely bride,” Tsubaki commented before she lunged forward.

Kikyo didn’t see the staff through the toxic haze. When the speared end cut into her belly, she staggered sideways. Tsubaki moved to strike again, but all she managed to do was tear Kikyo’s hakui.

Batting the staff away, Kikyo stumbled past the miasma into the forest. The poisonous fumes entered her bloodstream through her open wound.

The effect was immediate. Kikyo felt her pace slow as her limbs became heavy. Still, she pushed herself to continue forward.

When she reached the Bone Eater’s Well, she understood that there was only one way to keep the jewel out of Tsubaki’s clutches.

Footsteps alerted her to the dark priestess’s presence in the clearing. “You can’t possibly beat me. Give me the jewel.”

“It doesn’t belong to you,” Kikyo said.

“The Shikon Jewel deserves a powerful wielder, not the shell of a woman,” Tsubaki argued.

“I will never allow you to take it from me,” Kikyo vowed.

She closed her fist over the jewel and allowed herself to fall backward into the well.

Tsubaki’s erased cry was the last thing she heard before the darkness swallowed her.


“Kagome, don’t forget to come home straight after school. I need your help with unpacking these,” Gramps said, holding up a keychain with a small pink marble attached at the bottom.

“Are you selling this junk at the store?” she asked.

“Junk? This isn’t junk! This is our heritage!” Gramps cried indignantly.

“A marble is part of our history?” Kagome questioned, eyeing the souvenir skeptically.

“This is a replica of the Shikon no Tama, which our ancestors were in charge of protecting. It was said that the Jewel of Four Souls had the power to grant its wielder any wish. As you can imagine, many wanted it for selfish gain, such as immense wealth or the ability to conquer enemy lands. Our ancestors made sure the jewel didn’t fall into the wrong hands,” Gramps explained.

“If they were so good at protecting the jewel, where is it now? The last time I checked, our shrine doesn’t have an all-powerful jewel. Maybe if we did, you could afford to buy me an actual present instead of…whatever this is,” Kagome retorted.

She tossed the webbed foot at Buyo. Her overweight cat sniffed the item for a moment before beginning to gnaw on its nails.

“Don’t!” Gramps shouted. “That’s a mummified kappa foot. It will ward off curses and keep evil at bay.”

Kagome stifled a yawn as she collected her backpack from the floor. “Sorry, Gramps. I don’t believe in that stuff.” Glancing over her shoulder, she added, “But Buyo seems to like it so it’s not a total waste.”

Her grandfather scoffed and crossed his arms over his chest. “One day, you’ll learn to appreciate history, Kagome. It’s not simply facts about old things. It is our story.”

“If you say so. I’m heading to school,” she replied.

“Don’t forget to hurry right back,” Gramps called after her as she exited the storehouse.

Kagome sighed, her head drooping at the prospect of enduring another lengthy speech from Gramps this afternoon. She wished she was a normal teenager. Then all she would have to worry about was studying for her entrance exams and what time to meet her friends at WacDonald’s.

Ayumi, Eri, and Yuka didn’t have to rush home from class to do inventory or clean the creepy old well house. They had time to do fun things like shopping and visiting cafes. Not Kagome. She was expected to keep up with her studies while helping to maintain the shrine.

Kagome had hoped that since it was her birthday, Gramps would let her go out after school. Yuka had mentioned taking the metro downtown to try a new boba tea shop her cousin recommended.

Guess that’s not gonna happen, Kagome thought as she kicked a stone across the shrine courtyard.

The pebble rolled through the dirt before hitting the base of the well house.

Kagome cringed. Of all the buildings within the shrine’s walls, the well house was the creepiest. Gramps had told her the story of its history countless times, though she didn’t believe that stuff about it being a massive demon grave. Gramps tended to embellish his stories when he saw his audience fading. That wasn’t what bothered her.

She just had a bad feeling about the well house. Kagome had never liked the building. Each time Mama had asked her to sweep the porch or Gramps made her wash the screens, Kagome found an excuse not to. Her younger brother, Souta, usually got stuck with the work while she did other chores.

“Hey, Kagome, come here.”

Speak of the devil…

Kagome paused just outside of the well house to find Souta standing inside.

“You’re not supposed to be in there, you know,” she reminded him.

“I thought I heard something,” he told her.

She knew her brother was afraid of the dark. He never entered a room without turning on the light. If he was here, there had to be a reason.

Just like there had to be a reason he looked so scared.

“It was probably just the wind. Come on. We have school,” Kagome urged as she continued toward the torii.

Maybe Souta was facing his fears. Apparently, it hadn’t worked, but Kagome was proud of him for trying. She trusted that he’d grow out of it. After all, he was only eight.

It doesn’t belong to you!

Kagome froze. Eyes wide, she gazed over her shoulder to find Souta inching away from the well house.

“Y-you heard it t-too, didn’t you?” he stuttered.


Souta pointed his finger at her. “Liar, I saw you freeze.”

Immediately, Kagome felt bad. The well house creeped her out but Souta was her younger brother. If she couldn’t be brave for him, when could she be brave?

“Fine, I’ll go check it out, alright?”

Souta nodded and she stepped around him to enter the well house.

The interior was dark. From the sliver of sunlight streaming in, Kagome saw the stairs leading down to the well. It was boarded shut to keep anyone from accidentally falling in. Gramps had even stuck a talisman over the center board to ward off evil spirits.

As Kagome stepped down, she heard the voice cry out again.

I will never allow you to take it from me!

Kagome gripped the straps of her backpack and took a deep breath. It’s just the wind , she consoled herself. It only sounds like someone calling for help. There’s not actually anyone down here.

The source of the nose was probably an animal who had gotten trapped inside. She scanned the area around the well for signs of a badger or raccoon.

“Maybe I should call Gramps over,” Souta suggested from where he was cowering in the doorway.

“Don’t be stupid. If he catches us playing in here, he’ll ground both of us for a week!”

“But Kagome—.”

“Look, there’s nothing down here, Souta. What you heard was the wind. See? There’s nothing to— Ah!


Her brother’s startled face was the last thing she saw before she fell backward into darkness.

Kagome screamed, desperately reaching out for something to grab onto. There was nothing where she expected the walls of the well shaft to be. Her hands swiped through the endless sea of inky black.

No! A different voice from the one she had heard earlier cried out. This time, however, the voice sounded much closer.

“Hello?” Kagome called out.

Suddenly, a spark of light appeared beneath her. Kagome held up her arms to shield her face.

Then, her feet were touching the ground. Surprised, she dropped her arms and glanced around.


Kagome glanced around to find herself at the bottom of the well.

“Did I hit my head?” She rubbed the base of her skull, searching for a bump but felt nothing.

Weird, she thought.

She cupped her hands around her mouth and yelled up to her brother. “Hey, Souta, get Gramps. I think I’ll need a ladder.”

There was no response.


Her brother didn’t answer.

He must have run off, Kagome thought. She found a foothold in between two of the old boards and began climbing up.

It was a slow process. With the extra weight of her backpack, Kagome struggled to find spots to hold onto. The wood was rotted in several places. Other sections didn’t even have any boards left. She clawed through the dirt, creating steps to leverage herself up and over the top.

What she saw nearly sent her tumbling back down the well shaft. 

Where am I?  

The well house was gone. Instead of the dusty building, Kagome found herself surrounded by lush foliage. She stood on a blanket of thick grass. Massive trees towered around her. Through the patches of sky between their leaves, Kagome managed to make out several layers of orange, pink, and purple. It was almost nighttime.  

Kagome ran a hand through her hair. I must have hit my head harder than I thought , she mused.

She couldn’t blame Souta for running away because clearly she was dreaming.

Well, at least this beats Mr. Sato’s biology lesson. Kagome had been having nightmares about dissecting frogs ever since she read the syllabus.

Maybe once she woke up, she could suggest altering the schedule to include a field observation day. Hiking was preferable to being stuck indoors with the stench of formaldehyde.

Kagome set her backpack down against the well. The bulging yellow sack sagged with the weight of her materials. She had a history exam next week and another on economics the week after. Reviewing her notes helped but nothing beat the textbook’s practice tests.

Curious to see more of the forest, Kagome abandoned her bag to wander around. It was weird that her dream involved the well. Most of the time, she dreamed about school or, if she was really lucky, a cute boy like Hojo Ueda. She rarely dreamed about the shrine, though considering her fall, it made sense.

What didn’t make sense was the fact that Goshinbuko was also here. The instant Kagome saw the sacred tree, she sprinted toward it.

Ivy was growing around the base of the tree, curled around the roots and circling the wide trunk. There was no rope tied around its base or paper streamers swaying in the breeze. The tree was undisturbed.

Strange, Kagome thought, glancing around.

Careful not to trip over any of the uplifted roots, she walked around Goshinbuko. There was nothing else familiar about the forest. Kagome saw no signs of the shrine or her home.

Just as she was about to return to the well, a twig snapped.

Kagome froze.

“Lady Kikyo?” a man’s voice called.

“Lady Kikyo, are you out here?” another yelled.

To her right, several men appeared. Some held torches in their hands, while the rest carried bows.

Kagome squinted. Their appearance seemed off somehow. Maybe it was just a trick of the light but it looked like they were wearing costumes. Was there a theater around here?

“Lady Kikyo, where are you?”

Frowning, Kagome ducked behind Goshinbuko. Even if this was a dream, she didn’t want to get involved with these strangers.

She watched them continue past her. It was difficult to make out their faces in the dim light. Now that the sun had set, the forest had become a playground of shadows.

Kagome waited until the strangers’ cries died away, then darted across the clearing to the well.

Her backpack was where she had left it. Even at twilight, the brilliant yellow fabric stood out.

She slung it over her shoulder and onto her back. The weight felt reassuring. The familiar sensation was comforting. It was the one thing that her weird dream world hadn’t changed.

Well, that and her school uniform.

Pinching myself should do the trick, Kagome decided.

She squeezed the flesh of her arm between her thumb and forefinger. The sharp pain caused her to wince but when Kagome opened eyes, her position hadn’t changed. She was still in the forest.

An uneasy feeling settled in the pit of her stomach. What if this wasn’t a dream? What if she really had fallen through the well? Kagome snorted. As if! People don’t just fall through wells!

Realizing her mistake too late, she slapped her hand over her mouth.

Footsteps sounded in the brush and a second later a group of men descended upon the clearing.

“There you are! We’ve been searching for you.”

Kagome’s gaze shifted between the men. None of them seemed familiar. Why had they been looking for her?

“What are you doing out here? Lord Taisho’s entourage is scheduled to arrive first thing in the morning.”

Kagome stared at the man. “Who?”

“Lord Touga Taisho from the Western Lands,” he clarified.

“Lady Kikyo,” the first man began, stepping forward. “Are you alright?”

“Sorry, I think there’s been a mistake. You see, I’m not—.”

Demon! Draw your bow! It’s a demon!”

Kagome glanced over just in time to see a giant white snake strike the yelling man. The serpent’s red eyes narrowed as he sunk his fangs in. Kagome backed away, convinced the creature was staring at her.

“Shoot it down!” one of the men cried.

The strangers with bows started firing arrows at the snake. It dropped its prey and slithered across the grass fast enough to avoid being hit.

“Here, Lady Kikyo, your weapon,” one of the men said, thrusting a long bow into Kagome’s hands.

“W-what am I supposed to do with this?”

“Purify the demon,” he replied.

Kagome chewed the inside of her cheek. Physical education had never been her favorite class. She preferred studying to running laps.

Of course, running probably would have come in handy right about now.

She narrowly dodged the viper’s strike, pivoting on her heel to run around the well.

“Ah!” A blood-cuddling scream announced that the serpent had claimed another victim.

With trembling hands, Kagome nocked an arrow in her bow and rose from the ground. The snake immediately shifted around, baring his fangs at her. As he charged across the grass, she took aim.

Hit the mark!

The arrow shot across the clearing. It hit the ground with a dull thud, missing the serpent by several meters.

“Crap!” Kagome dropped the bow and took off running.

Her heart was pounding in her ears but it wasn’t enough to drown out the snake’s angry hissing.

Branches and vines hindered her path. Kagome desperately swatted them away. She kept her head down to avoid being hit in the face. However, that also meant that she didn’t see the hill until it was too late.

Her misstep sent her to the ground. The weight of her backpack propelled Kagome forward, sending her toppling toward a river. Her vision was blurred by momentum and fear. She caught sight of the water seconds before falling in.

Kagome winced at the chilly temperature, which was quickly replaced by searing pain. The cold water made her aware of the cuts and bruises on her body. She wondered if in the waking world she had fallen out of bed. Would Mama come in with the first aid kit?

A flash of white caught her eye. On the riverbank, the giant white snake coiled up, glaring at her. Her panic subsided momentarily when she realized the serpent couldn’t follow her in.

“Who are you?”

Kagome whipped around to find a woman standing on the opposite river bank. She wore dark purple and gray robes. Though she had a youthful face, her hair was stark white. In her hand was a long wooden staff with a spear-tipped end.

“You’re not Kikyo,” the woman sneered.

“Who’s Kikyo?”

The white-haired woman chuckled. “No one of consequence.” She extended her hand to Kagome. “Give me the jewel and I will spare your life.”

Kagome’s brow creased in confusion. “What jewel?”

“Don’t play coy with me, girl. Hand over the Shikon Jewel,” the woman demanded.

“I don’t have any jewel!” Kagome shrieked.

The woman’s eyes narrowed. “We’ll see about that.”

She twirled her staff, then lunged forward, pointing the blade at Kagome. The waters parted. The woman had created a pathway for the white snake. The serpent slithered toward Kagome, its garnet gaze fixed upon her midsection.

Kagome tried to back away but found herself unable to move. Her eyes widened in fear.

“Someone help!”

The air thrummed and suddenly an arrow planted itself between the snake and Kagome.

“Tsubaki, stop!”

Kagome glanced over her shoulder to find a little girl, not much older than Souta standing on the bank of the river. She had a full quiver on her back and a second arrow poised to strike the serpent.

“Stay back,” Kagome warned the child.

The woman in purple— Tsubaki, the girl had called her —smirked. “Ah, Kaede, come to join your sister?”

“You’re not welcome here, Tsubaki. Leave,” the girl returned firmly.

“In a moment. There’s one final thing I need from her,” she said, gesturing to Kagome.

“The Shikon Jewel was entrusted to Kikyo. You were deemed unworthy,” Kaede retorted.

“Perhaps, but as Kikyo is no longer here, nothing is stopping me from taking what’s mine,” Tsubaki responded. “Kill her!” she commanded the snake.

The serpent struck. Kagome saw its mouth pull back to reveal a set of pearly white fangs. Instinctively, she threw up her hands.


A pulse of light erupted from her palms. Kagome blinked. When she opened her eyes, the river’s flow had been restored and all that remained of the serpent was a charred corpse on the riverbank.

“You insolent wench!” snarled Tsubaki.

Her eyes turned as red as her snake’s eyes had been. She raised her staff. Kagome saw the moonlight glint off the metal end as it moved toward her.


Kaede let her arrow fly, knocking the staff from her opponent’s hand.

“Lady Kikyo! Kaede!”

A swarm of men came running down the hillside.

Tsubaki glowered at the girl. “You’ll pay for this.” She turned her enraged gaze on Kagome. “Both of you.”

Kagome watched as Tsubaki retrieved her staff and fled into the shadows. Adrenaline was coursing through her veins. It made her skin tingle and her head fuzzy. She was hardly aware of the villagers helping her out of the river. The only thing Kagome was conscious of was how vivid this dream was. 

What if she was wrong? What if this wasn’t a nightmare?

She glanced over at Kaede. The little girl’s solemn gaze confirmed Kagome’s suspicion.


Author's Note: This is my final contribution for SessKag Week 2021. This multi-chapter fic for Day 7: Purple - Royalty/Nobility will be an on-going WIP of mine. I recently got a new job which is good because (once I've fully transitioned) I should have more time to write. Thank you to my beta, originalone73.