"Damn that wench!" Inuyasha grumbled aloud as he sat under a shady tree with Miroku. It had been two days. Two fucking days and he was still human! He felt vulnerable in his human form. This body was so weak compared to his hanyou one. He couldn't hear anything, he couldn't smell anything, and he couldn't hunt. The young hanyou felt useless as he took a bite out of the fish Miroku had caught for them. The bitch had reduced him to nothing more than a pup and that was something he'd never forgive.
"If you had listened to me in the first place, you wouldn't be in this mess." Miroku said matter of factly.
"Shove it asshole! Maybe if you hadn't been so cowardly and helped me we would have the jewel already!"
"You call it being cowardly; I call it being smart."
"Call it what you like, but as soon as my powers return we're going back to that village, and I'm gonna slice that little priestess from head to toe!"
"Yeah because that worked out so well for you last time." Miroku said, his voice dripping with sarcasm.
"Well then what do you suppose we do?"
"We need to keep a close eye on her. Learn her strengths and her weaknesses. We attack when she's least expecting it."
"I guess." Inuyasha said taking another bite of fish. He still wanted to kill her though.
"Plus It seems we have other things we should be worried about. You remember the wind demon who lead the attack that killed Lady Midoriko? I hear her master, Naraku, is also looking for the jewel."
Inuyasha dropped his fish as he tightly clenched his hands into fists. He felt the blood run down his knuckles and it did nothing to simmer his rage. So that bastard was back again and looking for the jewel? Well this time Inuyasha was ready. There was no way he'd let Naraku get the best of him again.
'I'll die before I let that bastard take what's mine.'
Kagome wondered through the countryside slowly making her way back to the village. She was busier than she'd ever been, slaying demons and traveling. Coming to a stop in an open field the young woman sat in the grass, lying back and watching the clouds go by. How long had it been since she'd done something like this? How long had been since she'd had time to herself?
'Too long.' She thought. The gentle breeze teased her hair and the only thing she wanted was stay like this forever. But there was no such thing as forever. Everything faded eventually. She'd learned that the hard way.
As the birds chirped happily without a care in the world, her hand slowly made its way to the pocket inside her robes. She could feel the weight of the jewel against her breast and a scowl crawled its way to her face. How could such a tiny marble cause so much pain? How could this insignificant piece of crystal control so many lives, including her own? She closed her eyes and a blur of crimson and gold skirted past her senses. She cursed herself mentally for thinking of the foolish demon who thought he was strong enough to take her life.
'He's not truly a demon though is he? He's only a half.'
He desired more power, that much was obvious, but at what cost? The jewel was tainted by the blood of so many; who could ever think their heart's desire could be granted by such a vile object? Though her spiritual powers kept the evil inside dormant, her powers were not strong enough to completely suppress it. He was a poor soul that Kagome secretly wished she could save. His human heart yearned to feel love and acceptance yet, his demon nature had him seeking it out in all the wrong ways. Unfortunately dealing with Inuyasha was on the bottom of her priority list.
'I need find more information about this Naraku Lady Midoriko warned me about. There haven't been any rumors of his whereabouts, and Kagura hasn't shown herself since the castle was attacked. How am I to protect the jewel from an enemy I've never seen?'
Though she didn't have time to ponder. A loud crash sounded from the forest next to her, and when she picked a trace amount of demonic energy she was already on her feet, running deep into the woods.
"Master, the girl is coming." A little girl dressed in white sat in the corner of a dark room. The small mirror she clutched in her hands gave off an erie glow as it showed a young priestess running through the forest.
"Good. I've been waiting many years for the jewel to resurface. With Midoriko and Kikyou both dead, this little girl is nothing more than a thorn in my side, though she is a delicate looking thing. Maybe we should go easy on her? What do you think Kagura?"
The wind demoness snorted in her master's direction. She found this entire situation irritating and unnecessary. If the girl was so weak then why not just kill her and take the jewel? Why toy with her?
'Because Naraku is a sadistic bastard that's why.'
"Do what you like. Whether that girl lives or dies is of no concern to me."
Naraku sent an icy glare over to the being he had created. His second successful incarnation. She was untrustworthy, unloyal, and reckless. As much as he'd love to squish her pathetic heart in his hands, she would be useful in the end. And he couldn't afford to get rid of her...yet.
"Inuyasha do you sense that?" Miroku whispered coming to a stop in the forest.
"Yeah...but it's faint." He sniffed and scrunched his nose in disgust, covering the offended appendage with his thick kimono sleeve. "Whatever it is smells hella nasty."
"If you can smell it that must mean that you're powers are starting to return. I was almost beginning to worry."
"Keh! As if that wench could keep me down for long! Do you think it's worth checking out?"
"Definitely. I can feel the power of the jewel close by."
'I sense the demonic aura, so where's the demon?' Kagome pondered. There was no mistaking that this demonic aura she'd been sensing originated from this spot. She canvased the small patch of woods, her bow drawn, and still there was nothing.
'Maybe I'm going crazy.' Placing her arrows back in their quiver she began to walk in the direction she believed her village to be in, when the earth began to tremble.
"What's going on?" She felt a pulse of power and removed the sacred jewel from inside her robes. The cool marble felt heavy in her hand as the clear crystal became clouded.
Before she had time to react thick, root like tentacles shot out from the ground crumbling the earth and uprooting the trees. The force of the explosion knocked her off her feet and she landed a few feet away in a heap.
"So this is the almighty priestess so many people have themselves worked up about? The Deadly Siren as you're so formidably known?"
Gaining her bearings Kagome found herself face to face with a man in a white baboon coat. The mask he wore covered his face, but his ebony locks spilled over his shoulders in a tangled mess.
"Who are you?" She said evenly. The demonic aura she sensed earlier was radiating strongly from this demon, though something was off. Why hadn't he attacked her while she was down? Hadn't he hid all that time in the ground to surprise her and throw her off? What was he questioning her for?
"Your dear old mentor Midoriko didn't mention me to you? I'm hurt, I thought we were closer than that." Slowly he reached up and pulled the baboon mask from his face. The rest of his wavy hair came tumbling down and his crimson eyes slowly dragged themselves over her form.
There was something dark and sinister about him. It made her blood run cold.
"You may call me Naraku." At the sound of his name her muscles went rigid and she forgot how to breathe. This was the demon Lady Midoriko had warned her about. The demon that killed Kikyou and weakened the seal on the Shikon No Tama.
"What do you want me from me?" Kagome said harshly. She drew her bow and notched an arrow. When he didn't respond she let it fly and took of an arm. "I won't ask you again." She said readying another arrow. She pulled the bow string taut, but before she could release it a thick tentacle flew towards her, knocking her off balance. Dropping her weapon she was lifted off her feet by the offending appendage and slammed against a nearby tree. Blood trickled into her eyes and black dots spotted her vision as she fought to stay conscious.
"No! Stop!" She felt his tentacle tighten around her neck as another slid into her robes removing the Sacred Jewel from her possession.
"Hey why don't you pick on someone you're own size?" Kagome blinked rapidly as she watched the Silver haired hanyou, she'd nearly killed, and his dark haired friend step from the foliage.
"Inuyasha, how generous of you to grace us with your presence." Naraku smirked.
"Bastard! I didn't come here for you! I came for the jewel, so drop the girl and hand it over!" He screamed. He watched as Naraku sized him up and it made his blood boil.
"You truly are a pathetic being if you think you have the power to take the jewel away from me. You couldn't even protect Kikyou." Naraku smirked as he watched Inuyasha's jaw clench and his eyes narrow. If he could get him worked up enough he could kill two birds with one stone, by destroying him and the little priestess.
"Shut up! Wind Scar!" A wave of demonic energy clawed its way across the earth and toward Naraku. Kagome felt the tentacle around her neck slacken. As the dust settled she looked up from the ground only to see that Naraku was gone.
"Fuck, he got away! Miroku let's go he can't be too far."
"Wait!" She yelled as she watched them turn around and give her curious and irritated looks. "If you're going after Naraku then I'm coming with you."
"I can sense the jewel. Naraku hasn't gotten every far." Kagome yelled over the wind. She repositioned herself awkwardly on Inuyasha's back as he speed through the trees. She blushed when her sudden movement made him grip her thighs and the look she received from Miroku only made her cheeks heat up all the more.
"Stop moving will ya? You're throwing me off balance!" Inuyasha said irritably. How in the hell did he get roped into carrying the girl? He'd hadn't even wanted to bring her along. "She can sense the jewel. She has purifying powers. We need her." Inuyasha said doing a poor impression of Miroku.
"Hey I only came to help! If I'm such a bother feel free to put me down!"
"Fine by me."
"Inuyasha don't be so rash." Miroku said calmly.
"Then you carry her!"
"Don't mind if I do." Kagome's eye twitched at his lecherous tone and she fisted her hands into Inuyasha's red haori.
"Knock it off. We don't have time to deal with your perverted tendencies right now."
"Look! Over there!" Looking up Inuyasha spotted the dark cloud of miasma that shielded Naraku from their view. He doubled his pace, intent on bringing the bastard down, when Kagome's voice stopped him.
"Inuyasha wait! If you get close enough to inhale the miasma it'll kill you."
"Well how am I supposed to kill him if I can't close?"
"Here I can purify the gas with my arrow." Kagome pulled the bow string taut and released her arrow. The small object whizzed through the sky almost barely covering the distance to its target. The cloud dissipated as it came in contact with Kagome's purifying energy.
"Lady Kagome, can you see it? Can you see the jewel?" Miroku asked. Straining her eyes she searched for the glow that she had become so accustomed to seeing.
"It's in his chest. Close to his heart. Inuyasha I need you to get closer." As they inched forward a tentacle shot out from beneath Naraku's baboon robes, not allowing them to proceed any further. Inuyasha quickly cut it down, and another came in its place, so he cut it down again, and again, and again.
"This is getting us nowhere!" Inuyasha yelled in frustration, "Kagome you're going to have to shoot him down from here. I can't get any closer and I can't draw Tetsusaiga with you on my back."
Kagome chewed her lip with worry as she watched her nemesis make off with the jewel. Her only duty was protect the jewel and keep it purified. It was Midoriko's dying wish and she was going to let her teacher down.
"I can't! Not from this distance. My arrow will never make it." She reached back and cursed when she felt she realized she only had one arrow left. Tears collected in her eyes and she hated herself for being so weak.
"Yes you can." Kagome looked down in surprise at Inuyasha. Had he just encouraged her? "If Naraku gets the jewel we'll all be doomed, and I'll be damned if my last moments are going to be spent with you. So wipe your fucking tears, shut the hell up, and shoot the damn arrow!"
A smile graced Kagome's face as she notched her arrow, aiming it at the light from where the jewel glowed in Naraku's chest. Closing her eyes Kagome focused all her energy into her arrow, praying to the Gods that it would strike true.
"I believe in you, Kagome."
Kagome released her arrow and let it fly. The world began to move in slow motion as she watched her arrow sore through the sky and embed itself into Naraku's heart.
"Yes!" Kagome screamed with pride.
"She did it." Miroku looked on as streaks of light flooded the sky. This girl...was no ordinary priestess.
"Well I'll be damned. I didn't think you had it in ya." Inuyasha said as he landed on the ground and let Kagome slide from his back.
Soon the light began to fade and the forest became still once again. Kagome walked away from the boys when she saw something sparkle on the ground a few feet away. A wooden doll laid forgotten on the forest floor and next to it, was what seemed to be, a shard of glass.
"What is that?" Inuyasha said coming up behind her.
"Demon puppetry. Naraku fooled us. Whatever it was that Kagome just destroyed was not Naraku." Miroku said pensively.
"Dammit! You mean to tell me we did all that work for nothing? Does that mean that Naraku actually got away with the jewel?!"
"Not exactly..." Holding up the small shard in her hand Kagome gave the two hanyous in her presence a worried look.
"Please tell me that's not what I think it is?" Inuyasha said quickly beginning to panic.
"I...I broke it. I shattered the Sacred Jewel."
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InuYasha © Rumiko Takahashi.
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