The fight with Ashitare is over and I watch Ashitare fall to the ground after grasping his head and knocking him with some of the last strength I have. 'I have to move the boulder aside....' I think to myself straining my aching head. So I move forward and look at the big rock. Stretching my arms to one side, I push in the opposite direction moving the boulder away from the cavern entrance.
Trying to stop the blood flowing out of my stomach by holding it tightly, I collapse on the soft white snow. A flash of thoughts pass through my mind and I close my eyes, rolling over to look at the sky. The snow around me is slowly transformed red. I see Miaka and Tamahome's faces in a memory. Hotohori is there too. What I would give to be in theirs and the others' embrace at this moment.
I lay quietly for a few moments, knowing that with each second that passes by, my life is draining away as well as the blood from my wound. Suddenly I hear running foot steps and someone calling my name. Before I can blink, Tamahome and Miaka are kneeling next to me, Miaka crying. "Nuriko.." she says softly a tear rolling down her sweet cheek. I raise one hand and brush away her tear.
"I moved the boulder..." I manage to say. Tamahome nods and looks over at the cavern entrance with a distant expression.
"Nuriko, you'll be okay," Miaka says sniffling. I can tell she didn't want to cry in front of me.
"Yes Miaka... I'll be okay," I smile, but we both knew I was lying.
Tamahome pulls off some of his coat sleeve and covers my stomach with it.
"I hope that stops some of the blood from flowing, Nuriko... I'm sorry, we should've come with you." I shake my head with disapproval.
"No, things are fine the way they turned out..." I say quietly. Miaka begins crying again and Tamahome sighs. I start to talk again, but Tamahome shushes me and tells me if I talk, it'll cause more blood to flow out and make me weaker.
I ignore him and face Miaka. When I look at her, she reminds me of my younger sister who died when I was a child....Kourin... "Miaka, don't worry.. Please don't worry about me.. I have a favor to ask you," I say, my hand finding hers.
"Promise me you'll stay the way you are..." breathing is getting harder now. I look back up at Tamahome's face. He exchanges a sad glance with me.
'Kourin...' I think closing my eyes. 'I'm coming home, Kourin.. stripped of the heart that I gave to my miko- no... Miaka.' I breathe my last and my body lies emotionless in Tamahome's arms and Miaka's sad and disbelieving stare.