"It seems we're heading for a shortage this season. There hasn't been rain in months. The soil is too dry for the crops to grow." Said the young villager. He looked over to his companion, who continued to slave over a hopeless cause.
"It must be a sign from the Kami Dai. It seems many people have experienced a down turn in their luck, and we are no exception. I heard the village a few miles to the west of here was annihilated yesterday by a pack of wild demons."
"Ya think they'll make it down this way Hiroshi?"
"I hope not. My wife will be ready to give birth any day now. I'd like to live to see it."
"Hiroshi, what if this misfortune is not a sign? I've been hearing rumors lately, rumors that the jewel has resurfaced." Dai said looking worriedly at his friend.
"Don't speak such blasphemy! Talking of such evil shall only bring true misfortune upon us! Come now, we need to get back to work. All this gossip is making me feel like a woman."
Kagome sat in her room, her eyes closed, and her mind blank. She took deep, cleansing breaths trying to relax herself. She'd been so on edge lately and she couldn't figure out why. Something in her gut told her something bad was going to happen, and it was going to happen soon. Opening her eyes Kagome realized how late it had gotten. 'I've must have been meditating for hours.' Standing, she moved over to a small desk in the corner of her room. Kagome watched herself in the mirror as she brushed out her tangled hair. Setting the brush aside she continued to watch herself in the glass. Kagome's eighteenth birthday was tomorrow and she wanted to believe that she'd changed. Gliding her hands across her face she wanted to see what everyone else saw when they looked at her.
She wanted to see the beautiful woman everyone claimed she'd matured into. She wanted to witness the strength and grace the villagers claimed she possessed. Because when she looked in the mirror she saw nothing. She saw a scared, immature child. She saw a failure. Turning her head Kagome caught a glimpse of the wilted rose in the corner of her room. The petals had long since turned brown, and most of them had begun to crumble away.
'Sometimes...I wish I could forget you Hojo.'
Hojo had been dead for four years now, and she still couldn't let him go. Her mind told her it was time move on, the past was over, and as much as she wanted to, it couldn't be changed. Yet her heart just wouldn't let go. Kagome shook her head trying to will the depressing thoughts to go away. She couldn't afford to go down this road right now. Climbing into her bed Kagome knew had to get some sleep. Midoriko was sending her to a village recently attacked by a pack of demons in the west. Although Kagome really didn't see the point. Her job was to prevent death, but apparently the whole town had already been wiped out.
'Oh well. It's not like I can get out of going.' Shutting her eyes, Kagome finally let herself succumb to the darkness sleep would bring.
"Master, you called for me?" A beautiful demon walked into a grand room. Her ruby eyes shined suspiciously as she watched the man before her. Her wavy locks were pinned in a bun by a feather at the side of her head, and she brushed her bangs out of her face with her fan.
"I have a job for you Kagura."
"You mean I'll finally be able to get out of this stuffy place? Thank God." He smiled deviously at her as he pulled something from his kimono sleeves. The foreign object pulsed and moved in his hand, and before Kagura could ask him what it was, he gave it a hard squeeze. Grasping at her chest, the female demon dropped to her knees, gasping for breath.
"Did anyone ever tell you, you talk too much? You should learn to hold your tongue my dear, and keep your irrelevant comments to yourself."
"B-bastard." She wheezed from her spot on the floor.
"Your job is to find an old friend of mine. She has something I want, you must retrieve it before she can hand it off to that little whelp she's been raising."
Kagura looked at her master with disdain. She wanted nothing more than to cut that ugly smirk off his face, but she'd do what she had to do to survive...for now.
'Every caged bird is set free one day. I just have to wait for my opportunity to escape.'
"Do you feel it? The change in the wind?" The young demon looked to the sky, his nose high in the air, sniffing about. Strange things had been happening in these lands, stranger things than usual. The demons had become restless. They were looking for something, and they were devouring anything and everything to find it.
"The jewel has come back, hasn't it Inuyasha?" Smirking, the silver haired dog demon looked to his friend.
"That it has and this time, we're not gonna lose it." Jumping down from his perch on the roof Inuyasha came to stand next to Miroku. He'd been waiting many years for this day. He'd been patiently hoping the Shikon would show up once again.
"I hear that old priestess Midoriko has it. We just might stand a chance against her, but if she gives it to that girl we're done for." Miroku said.
"What's so special about that girl? I say we just kill the both of them and take it."
"She'll purify your ass before you can even touch it. "
"Not if my Tetsusaiga cuts her down first."
"You're such a brute Inuyasha."
"And you're a pussy! Why do I associate myself with you again?" He said turning away from his friend.
"Because if not for my calm nature to balance out your hot headedness, you'd have died a long time ago."
"Keh! Whatever. Damn void demons, you're all so smug."
"Come on Inuyasha. We'd better get a move on if we're gonna make it to the village before nightfall."
The closer Kagome came to the village in the west the more apprehensive she became. When she left the castle Midoriko had a strange look on her face, like she was hiding something.
"I'll just take a quick look around. The faster this is over, the quicker I can get home." Kagome quickly scanned the area. The earth was overturned and all of the huts were nearly destroyed. The town was completely empty, devoid of all people and animals.
"The demons must've completely devoured everyone. This wasn't just a random attack." Even the most ruthless of demons left something behind. An arm, a leg, a foot, even a finger should have been found. Whatever they were looking for here, they didn't want anyone else to find it.
A shiver passed through Kagome and she stopped dead in her tracks. A sick feeling tore through her belly and she had to control her instinct to vomit.
"What the?" Looking up, she saw that the once blue sky had turned black. Hordes of demons flew over head, their evil energy spreading across the land. It looked like they were heading east, in the same direction Kagome had just come from.
"Oh no." They were heading towards the castle.
"Dammit!" Midoriko cursed as she killed another set of demons. She dove with her blade, purifying their souls as she sliced away their bodies. Many of the guards had already been killed, and those who were left were too injured to fight. She watched as men, women, and children tried to flee, only to be mowed down in their vain efforts.
"I wasn't expecting this many of them. If I had known..."
"If you had known, you wouldn't have sent away Kagome. Is that what you were gonna say?" Midoriko watched as the female demon stepped forward. There was something off about this woman.
"You're the one controlling these demons? What is it that you want? If you've come to kill Kagome, she's not here." Her aura was so familiar.
"Oh I'm not here for the girl. I'm here for the jewel." Midoriko's eyes widened in surprise at mention of the jewel. The seal she placed on it should have lasted longer than this! There's way anyone should be able to sense it.
"I understand now. You're a spawn of the demon Naraku, aren't you? I'll never forget the feel of his aura for as long I live, and yours is just the same. It was him. He killed Kikyou didn't he?" Kagura chuckled at the woman. Smirking, she opened and lifted her fan above her head.
"You're a smart one I'll give you that. It was Naraku's plan to kill Kikyou, but I'm the one who did the actual killing. Why don't you say hi to her for me, after I tear you apart!" With a flick of her wrist demonic blades of wind shot from Kagura's fan. Bringing her sword down in a powerful arc Midoriko instantly stopped the attack.
"I won't be brought down so easily. If you're going to kill me you better be able to do better than that!"
"Oh, I will."
"Damn, they've already started attacking!" Inuyasha and Miroku arrived to the castle only to see it being pillaged by a horde of demons. They heard the screams of the villagers, and the air was soaked in the scent of their blood.
"Good. Less people to go through." Inuyasha said bounding into the village.
"Inuyasha wait!" Miroku shouted quickly following after him. He watched as Inuyasha brandished his sword, easily cutting through the lower level youkai. Removing the sealing beads from his right hand, Miroku unleashed his wind tunnel upon the unsuspecting demons.
"I can feel it. I can feel the power of the jewel. Miroku, this way!"
"Dammit, Dammit, Dammit!" Reaching through the village Kagome saw the castle blazing away against the black sky. She saw the villager,s people she'd grown up with being cut down and devoured. Alone these youkai would be nothing, but there were so many of them.
"Everyone it's Kagome! She's come to save us!" She saw the looks of relief as their gazes fell on her.
'Don't get too excited yet.' Pulling out her bow, Kagome released a barrage of arrows onto the demons. Backing up she stood in front of the gathered villagers. She had to protect them. Turning around she yelled for them to get as far away from the village as possible. Nodding they wasted no time in retreating.
Now she had to find Midoriko. Sprinting towards the castle Kagome brandished her sword taking out any demon who got close enough.
"Midoriko-sama! Midoriko-sama where are you?!" That's when she saw it. A giant, grotesque demon emerged from behind the castle. It had to be the ugliest thing she'd ever seen.
And Midoriko was trapped in its jaws.
"Midoriko-sama!" As Kagome ran closer, she saw the demon was composed of many other demons. Every time she tried to get close one would branch off from the main body and come after her. At this rate she'd never get close enough to do any real damage.
She'd never get close enough to save Midoriko.
"Kagome..." Midoriko watched her student take on the giant beast before her. All in the name of trying to save her, but it was too late. She'd been so close to killing that Kagura woman. Her blade had only grazed her, the purifying energy from Midoriko's blade not enough to kill her. She felt a wave of spiritual energy and suddenly she was falling. The demon had opened its mouth to let out a roar of pain, inadvertently letting the priestess slip from its grasp.
Midoriko hit the ground with a sickening thud. Kagome took a moment to watch her, making sure that she was alright. Her heart was hurting, the older woman definitely wasn't looking good. In her moment of weakness the demon took it's opportunity to strike out at Kagome. Shooting out a tentacle, the offending appendage wrapped itself around her neck. Gripping it tight she shot her purifying energy out, turning the tentacle to ash.
Falling to the ground Kagome quickly sent her arrows flying, one hitting it in the heart and purifying it instantly. Finally it was over. Crawling over to her teacher, Kagome placed Midoriko's head in her lap. Stroking the woman's hair, she let her tears fall and wash away the blood staining her face.
"I'm so sorry Midoriko-sama. I knew something was wrong when I left this morning. I should have stayed here."
"Kagome...don't blame yourself. None of this would have happened, if I had told you about the jewel."
"I'm not long for this world Kagome. T-the Shikon is a powerful orb that will bring disaster upon the world if it falls into the wrong hands. Your destiny...has...always been to protect the jewel. Only you can keep it purified now. The p-priestess I had entrusted it to was murdered, by an evil being named...Naraku. You must go into the castle and retrieve it."
"Please don't leave me Midoriko-sama! I don't want to be alone." Midoriko gave her a weak smile, and for the first the time in her life, the older woman cried.
"Y-you're like a daughter to me Kagome. Heed my words, Naraku will stop at nothing to get the jewel. You must always be on guard and keep yourself protected at all times." Reaching up Midoriko wiped away her pupils tears.
"I believe in you, Kagome." Her eyes closed and Kagome knew she was gone. She felt like such a failure, because the most important person in her life was dead, and it was all her fault.
"So the jewel is being entrusted to you, huh?" Quickly grabbing her bow and arrows, Kagome notched one and pointed it at the demons before her.
Or should she say...half demons.
"Stay away. I'm in a merciful mood and if you turn away now, I'll allow you to live."
"Keh! I've wait a long time to get my hands on the Shikon and I'm not leaving this place without it!" Pulling his sword from the scabbard, the silver haired half demon ran forward, with every intention of killing the young priestess.
"Inuyasha stop!" His companion ran forward as well, but it was too late to stop him. Placing Midoriko on the ground, Kagome charged her opponent. Notching her arrow she let it fly at the demonic blade, reversing its transformation.
"She stopped the Tetsusaiga, with one arrow." Miroku said, amazed at the power of this young girl. Swinging her bow Kagome caught the half demon off guard, knocking the blade from his hands, and throwing him off balance.
Landing with a painful thud on his back, Inuyasha was more than surprised when the priestess jumped on top of him. Grabbing his collar, her hands glowed with purified energy, ready to end his life.
"Stay back demon!" Kagome yelled, throwing up a small barrier in order to keep him out. The moment he tried to touch it, he'd be turned to dust.
"Fucking bitch!" Inuyasha seethed beneath her. How had this stupid wench gotten the better of him?
"You're foolishness will be the end of you. I gave you a chance to leave and you ignored my warning. Now you'll die." Inuyasha chuckled. The vibrations from his laughter reverberated through her body and Kagome fought her urge to blush.
"Oh yeah? Your reputation doesn't precede you Ka-go-me. I hear you kill demons mercilessly without a second thought, yet here I am alive and kicking. What's wrong little priestess, have you lost your nerve?" He smirked at the angry look in her eye. If he could get her to drop the barrier, he'd have a chance, but all that flew out the window the moment she smiled at him.
'What the fuck?'
Grabbing the front of his kimono in both her hands, Kagome sent her powers through his body. The barrier fell and Inuyasha screamed out in pain.
'Fuck! She's gonna purify him!' Miroku watched on in horror as the priestess continued her assault on Inuyasha, and he was helpless to stop her. Even from where he was standing her spiritual power was enough to bring him to his knees. If he stepped any closer he'd be purified as well.
Inuyasha knew he was gonna die. The power coursing through his body felt like fire was running through his veins. He could feel the demon in him howling, even the ill intentions in his human heart were feeling the effects of her power.
Then it suddenly stopped. The pain was gone and Inuyasha took a deep breath, trying to get much needed air. He felt a weight lift from him and saw that the priestess was retreating back into the castle.
"Where the fuck do you think you're going wench?" Sitting up was painful and he instantly became pissed off when a piece of midnight hair fell over his shoulders. He was human
"Count your blessing hanyou. I have spared you this time and only this time." She looked to the dark haired half demon he came with and pinned him with a glare. "I suggest you take your friend somewhere safe, and stay away from me." Leaning down Kagome picked up Midoriko from the spot she'd left her in and carried her into the castle.
Inuyasha growled at her as she continued to walk away from him. "Smug bitch."
"Come on Inuyasha let's go. I need to get you out of here." Pulling an angry Inuyasha onto his back Miroku took off into the night, leaving the decimated village and the powerful priestess behind.