|Serpent, Soarer, and Guardian
Author: Eduard Kassel PM
Failure, it can open the door to unexpected opportunities. Fate has reaped an unusual reward, as those who endured 3rd Impact find themselves in a strange new place. With bizzare new forms an uncertain future awaits the survivors. AxS Rei adopts KannaRated: Fiction T - English - Fantasy/Drama - Asuka S. & Kanna - Chapters: 5 - Words: 29,157 - Reviews: 23 - Favs: 25 - Follows: 27 - Updated: 12-24-11 - Published: 01-10-10 - id: 5658181
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Disclaimer: I do not own Neon Genesis Evangelion or Inuyasha. So please put the lawyer down sir.
Lord of the West
To fly was to be joyous. This was something Rei had come to terms with. A strange way to word such a thing, but Rei was never normal. For someone raised to emotional sterilization where a raised voice could equal dancing for joy or a raging tantrum in a normal person; accepting an everyday task brought her something so potent as joy was no simple thing.
Yet it was inescapable, as the wind washed over her and carried her, as her wings and energy held her aloft with a power she used with ease and little understanding. All was well, that was the thought that kept returning, allowing no escape to the detached introspection of old.
Soaring through the grey winter sky, a piece of white on the troubled gray, a part of her wanted to keep going. Not some juvenile fantasy of seeking out the unknown beyond the horizon, such things had not interested or even been truly understood by her before, and that was one thing that had not changed.
No she envisioned herself nesting high atop snowy peaks: isolated, taking her meager needs to survive from the harsh landscape between earth and sky.
'Heavy are the mountains.'
She recalled those words from another life. Yes an existence of solitude without the turmoil or entanglement of others. No identity with no one to recognize her existence and no destiny designed others or chosen by herself. She could simply exist unto herself as she slipped away into a blissful oblivion of survival and existence.
Yet the voice was weak, snow falling onto stone heated by the magma flows beneath the surface. Pulsing with the life of a world calling for those hearing it to join the song and dance it marks with its beat. Music made sense for the first time, though she knew aside from Kanna she would never even bother explaining it to anyone.
And that was just it, the difference, she did not look up; it was in looking down she found what she needed. The mountains were not what she wanted. It was the valley, her valley. They had named her the Blue Harpy despite her more numerous white feathers, and had marked this valley as hers.
She who had never sought a title had become a ruler and mother quite by accident. She believed Katsuragi would have called this a 'FUBAR', but unlike the unstable officer Rei had found the unexpected something to take joy in.
X X X
The Lord of the West descended to the earth, the crimson cloud he stood upon dissipating on the contact. A small human girl wrapped in a mountain cat pelt immediately scampered off, no doubt to explore the snowy site with the eager curiosity that comes naturally to children.
Unlike his charge the Lord of the West, Sesshomaru of the Inuyoukai was stern and aloof in his demeanor, and garbed in his typical robes and furs. True to his name his appearance was one of deadly elegance, and if the cold bothered him he showed no sign.
His garments of white and red spoke of martial refinery, the spiked armor o one shoulder his sole concession to protection. Fur trailed down from his shoulders alongside snow white hair. He was fair of face and skin, at first glance the ignorant may have mistook him for a woman(1). A crescent moon marked his brow and two golden eyes looked out with cold despondency on the land
Beneath the snow before him laid the rotting corpses of demons. Most had been scoured by spiritual fire. His keen nose told him what his eyes could not see. The display ringed these mountains, encircling the valley below him.
His eyes did pick out the trail below, curving out of sight: a clearly defined boundary. Two demons, a Hanyou, and something he mistook for a Hanyou but found stranger on inspection. The Hanyou was under the village with the lesser demon, looking after the holding no doubt. The strange one was on the perimeter, a sentry. The final one, the strong demon, the Blue Harpy he had been hearing rumors about was in the tree that dominated the inner forest.
He would speak with this upstart, and if necessary put her in her place.
X X X
Kanna tugged her kimono's collar wider tying to cool off as she shut the door to Asuka's furnace. It did not strike her how trying to cool off in winter was strange, after all the cold while bothering her was not something she complained about.
She left the crude furnace to its task of trying to heat the tunnels, stepping back into the corridor. It roughly resembled a hallway but it was all curved edges and tunnel-like, despite Asuka's best efforts. Her tunneling ability while quite effective was still not what the temperamental Hebi would call refined.
The Second discovered the ability while sleepily avoiding the rain, waking to find herself burrowed into the earth. Aside from moving through the ground with ease the great serpent could harden her passages leaving trails in the ground by secreting her poison. While slightly pebbled in texture Kanna found it pleasing enough for her feet.
Vague plans for a mansion had been quickly disregarded as the Second moved underground using her mysterious 'engineering skills' to make an 'unassailable wonder'. Kanna decided that attributing the move to instinct while accurate would not be appreciated by her packmate.
The heating system was a particular failure, a frantic product of the Seconds fear of winter on her reptilian nature. Kanna agreed the failure was a pity.
Her mother had sent her here from the nest concerned the winter elements would harm her. But Kanna found herself either bored with the tunnels or tending to the hibernating Asuka.
Not that she would complain, she was the omega of the pack so such duties were fitting. Besides sleeping was a pleasant state to socialize with the serpent hanyou. Less pleasant was her occasional semi wakefulness where she ate, often gnawing on non-food items and the ever eventful attempts to use the latrine.
Checking on the carpeted and cloth lined depression that was Asuka's bed confirmed the serpent was coiled tightly her upper body buried under her tail. Sometimes went Kanna grew tired of her down filled alcove she would snuggle into the coils. They were surprisingly comfortable, and like with the nest the heart beats of another being were most soothing to her.
Kanna thought it was only a matter of time until Asuka woke again. Down here time was harder to keep track of, only to be broken up by her own sleeping.
But it was time that changed. As their hasty nature made clear Asuka's horded food was running out. Kanna did not eat much but she admitted to some concern for her own safety if she could not provide the insensible hanyou with her fill.
A trip to the surface was in order. Not just an idle break, but a genuine errand to justify her ascent. The humans could perhaps assist her, though it would likely fall to seeking her mother's aid to acquire some fresher animal corpses. The smokehouse hadn't been finished before the cold stole the Second's wits after all.
Fortunately the Second was not current complaining about well aged meat.
She walked up the ascending tunnel calmly pulling up the fur lined hood she had been given. She felt she could do without but liked the gift. It was white despite being brown when she got it.
That happened to all her clothes Asuka calling her a 'bleach demon.' It felt like it should be an insult, but apparently it meant she no longer had to wash the serpent's kimonos. In fact she had been forever banished from approaching Asuka's wardrobe.
She let such thoughts fall away reaching into a small alcove to push in a lever popping the soil covered trap door before her.
Scampering through the small space she could manage without stronger assistance she realized something. She would have to leave it open, with snow falling like this her tracks would vanish. She wasn't certain she could find Asuka's holes in this snow.
Resigning herself to the wasted fuel she trudged off into the snow towards the nest.
X X X
A snow caked giant marched through the snow. Icicles hung from the protrusions of his armor and snow gathered in crevices and heaped on his shoulders.
Shinji paid it no mind. The cold was no big deal for him, and this snow could mask the approach of a foe. The bandits seemed learn their lessons as he piled the corpses beyond the canyon. But the demons continued to come to be skewered on the Lance.
He had not gotten them all, the girls had had to fight, unacceptable. He rarely needed rest, and so his days and nights were patrol. He was deprived of purpose, especially since Asuka went to ground.
He saw Rei every day in the skies and knew she saw him. She was beautiful, he had thought that even when she was wrapped in bandages crying with pain. But now . . .
There was no lust he had realized in surprise. Not with her or Asuka, he found them so magnificent yet . . .
'Pervert! I know what you did while I was sleeping!" the Not Asuka screamed in his face.
He clanged the shaft of the lance to his shoulder the vibration sending the ice and snow tumbling from his form clearing his vision.
Thinking got him nowhere, all he needed was purpose to put one foot in front of the other.
The aura hit him and he nearly stumbled, catching himself on the Lance. Faint but strong, so strong.
Raising his head to look into the valley dread cloaked him as he probed it with his senses. It was far above anything he had faced, and it was already in the valley, no over it!
Swiftly approaching Rei's tree, where she was.
Snow flew up as he leapt into the skies trees crashing to the side as he landed in a dead run.
X X X
Kanna was hiding under a bush when the intruder passed over. It was him, the one her sister had sought. Time had not made him weaker and swords still hung at his belt.
The Lord of the West had come, for her mother. She realized this and against all her growing sense of self preservation, ran after him pulling her mirror from behind her.
Rei was not in her nest. Normally she would be resting now so she could fly again for hours under the moonlight. Kanna liked the sun so she had curtailed her nocturnal flights, but with her daughter with Asuka she was free to set her own schedule.
But her sleep had been disturbed with her senses flaring in danger. Something was coming. Something strong, and unlike the battles since their arrival in the Valley she was not certain Shinji could take care of it if worse came to worse.
It had been flying low. She had only caught glimpses of it from her perch in the tree Shinji had fed so generously with his blood to make a fine nesting place for her.
Now it approached on foot and she stood still among the snow covered tangles of her tree. Watching, waiting, and she would admit it, fearing.
"I can see you clearly, Blue Harpy seems a misnomer. Or is it simply winter feathers?" a cold refined voice called from the shadows of the forest. The image of Gendo Ikari reared in her mind and panic rose.
No, it wasn't him. He had been gruff despite his refinement, a man who had pulled himself up the ladder and showed it if you looked hard enough. This voice was assured in a way his hadn't been. It was one who felt no need to shape the world because it already suited him.
Now the speaker revealed himself, stepping into the small clearing that had formed around her tree's base. Gold eyes looked with her ruby eyes, and she felt like prey.
"Who are you," she asked.
"I am the Lord of the Western Lands, come down here now," he declared with finality. There was no pride in his voice; he started his title as a fact no more no less. It illogically made her feel foolish for her question.
She obeyed guessing the consequences of this one's displeasure.
"I am Rei, called the Blue harpy by the people of the Valley," she introduced herself eyeing him warily from her position.
The Lord of the West measured her without expression. He sensed none of the arrogance or pride typical of would be rebels or usurpers. Still he had been deceived before.
"Why have you established a domain in my territory?" he demamded.
"I did not intend to establish anything Lord Sesshomaru. We were wandering aimlessly and one of my companions intervened in a battle here. The humans took him for a kami, and one of my other companions saw a chance to settle. So we did," she explained warily.
"You obey the whims of your subordinates?"
"I only lead because the others are either uninterested or even less qualified than I.
"I don't want conflict. What needs to be done to avoid it, Lord of the West?" the young demoness asked.
Interesting. It was a strange tale, but wandering demons could form unlikely packs. He wondered about that sacred presence, it was pure and yet tainted, like desecrated holy ground.
But it seemed he may have a vassal in the making rather than a rebel.
He didn't need the demons of this valley, but one's domains could never be too big or vassals too numerous. And if she proved treacherous he could always kill her and hers.
"You will respect the peace between my other vassals, and in exchange you will be protected from them. If you wish to pursue a vendetta against another under my rule you must appeal to me first for permission. You and yours will be mine to call on in times of war without question or compromise. In exchange your domain will fall under my protection against other Demon Lords
"Finally each year you must offer tribute to me as a sign of supplication," he recited the conditions crisply.
"This is acceptable," Rei answered.
Curiouser and curiouser, while he did intimidate this demon, alphas typically resented being subordinated, even if it was to their betters.
Jakken was an anomaly, most demons would sooner rule over chafe as he had rather than serve a true being of power. It was a great part of the reason he put up with the kappa.
He raised his hand to accept her allegiance, pausing to glance to the side. He leapt back as Shinji's massive form descended from the sky Lance driving into the ground he had just stood on.
"Shinji!" Rei shouted hopping back.
"It would seem good faith was lacking after all," the Lord of the West remarked forming his lash as Shinji ripped his weapon from the ground. The aristocratic demon saw the poor fighting form of his foe, but also the weapon.
'This is the strange one, part human but not a Hanyou? Kami? Then why this menace?' he wondered propelling himself back away from the clumsy but fast swing of the spear.
He let it close to show his lack of concern. Only to feel fire and ice flare across him. His eyes widened as he took a proper leap back.
Scowling he realized he was unharmed it was that weapon, its aura was overpowering. A powerful but unrefined warrior, and a weapon which was making his instinct flare.
He noted both the white girl moving closer and the Harpy calling out to her minion to stop. The Lord of the West decided he had toyed enough. His whip passed gracefully as he dodged a roaring spear thrust. The energy closed about the wrist and tightened.
Next thing they saw, he knew, he was on the monster's wrist balanced with deceptive ease. A swift powerful kick sent the weapon flying as the fingers opened.
The brutes eyes widened in stunned surprise at the display of speed and agility. Good. Let it see his boot.
With a crack the brute was stumbling back. To its credit it reached for him as he alighted atop the snow rather than clutch its face. He was not so obliging as to be caught. His whip lashed out again and with a tug he sent his attacker to its back.
"I mustn't-" it growled trying to rise. It stopped seeing him atop its own chest, sword finally drawn and held to its throat.
"Good so you can speak. That means you can understand what I have to say," the aristocratic demon commented.
"Please mercy!" Rei cried out. The Lord turned his eyes on her confident of his position. She was kneeling, not rushing to attack, he had not failed to note the other watcher. Still he was intrigued by the terror in her eyes, she cared for his opponent, deeply.
I would have mocked that trait in a leader once, he recalled.
Yet she didn't attack to aid. As he watched she prostrated herself in the snow.
"He didn't know, he is a simple protector. Ht ill not happen again, please spare him Lord," Rei begged. He did not acknowledge the display instead turning his eyes to the edge of the clearing. His gesture understood Kanna shuffled out of the woods. Rei lifted her head and sucked in a breath.
"I was told you were dead," Sesshomaru remarked.
"I was, I am still incomplete," she answered. She looked at the harpy rather than him. The jewel, how his half brother would rage that it had raised such a longstanding foe. Or perhaps not, his woman had seemed to pity the mirror girl, and often wisely Inuyasha let himself be lead by those less foolish than him.
"Are you going to shatter me?" Kanna asked flatly.
"Why would I? My feud was with your 'father' and I retain a debt to your sister. That debt is closed with your kneeling," he answered. The girl nodded and kowtowed as best she could with one arm. He saw her mirror was indeed incomplete.
"This one is mine as well. He will learn proper respect and to fight as more than a beast," he commanded, eyes drifting back into the white eyes glaring impotently at him.
"Yes, Shinji he is our new Lord we owe him obedience," Rei spoke her voice rough from anxiety and overuse. She was not distressed by this so much. It was only a new chain of command and it promised to be less demanding than Nerv from what little she had been told.
He stepped down and the strange being did not rise only balling its fists as it glared into the sky.
"I see you have proper command. That is good, serve me as well and there will be no ill will between us.
"And your hanyou will also fall under me through you," he added as his cloud formed beneath him. Rei just nodded looking pained.
He guessed she was of an even temperament like himself, but she was inexperienced with how to maintain it under stress. He rose into the sky already losing concern for the harpy.
Perhaps this Shinji warranted some investigation, but it had been a simple matter of expanding his domain in the end.
Unnoticed by him Kanna ran to Rei and was buried in feathers, while the feathered girl looked at Shinji's silently fuming form.
X X X
Asuka's lair was hot stoked into greater heat with its chief occupant awake for the time being. Awake and loud.
"Vassal! What the hell does that mean!" Asuka shouted slamming her sake bottle down on the low table. In her human form for the time being she wore a plain light green kimono, red ones seemingly not supplied by 'her' subjects.
She and her guests were sitting in a crude sitting room. Like all the rooms Asuka had made by burrowing about its walls and floor had traces of her passage giving it a wavy appearance. It had hide rugs provided by their hunting and a tea table made under her orders by the town carpenter.
"It means we do what he says and give him an annual tribute," Kanna answered. She hadn't been given the single saucer, Asuka taking a drag from the bottle. The alabaster child glanced to the other seated person and seeing no trace of interest picked up their saucer.
"I know what a vassal is, and you're a minor!" Asuka snapped. She snatched the saucer out of Kanna's hand draining it herself. A visible shiver went through she and she pulled her kimono tighter muttering curses. Kanna would have to get more for the next transformation, she didn't want Asuka's blood getting too cold without the alcohol.
"If you knew why ask? And you're also underage," Shinji pointed out blankly. He was also in human form, his hair having grown past his shoulders and falling freely as he seemingly had no inclination to tend to it.
"The drag queen speaks! It's a miracle! How come you get curb stomped and I have to cough up the swag! Where's this guy get off making demands!" Asuka shouted. Shinji was wearing a kimono like hers, and in Asuka's words his human form seemed to have testosterone withdrawal compared to his other form.
Kanna watched his fists ball under the table from her spot. Picking up a bone from her otherwise bare plate she placed it in her mouth and proceeded to crunch it enjoying the marrow. She knew it wasn't her insults that were agitating him, but a reminder of his shameful defeat.
"He only wears that because you only stock female clothes, so you can mock him when he takes shelter here," Kanna reminded her flatly. Hopefully changing the subject since the heat fixated female was not like to catch on.
"Don't correct me when I'm ranting Kanna! Do you know how poor those people are! As it is I can only squeeze so much before Wondergirl starts getting all scary eyes on me! And frankly she's not worth the effort of reminding who is the best," Asuka ranted.
'You're a snake, snakes are afraid of birds,' Kanna translated. She would give the quirk of her lips that passed for a smile, but she was worried the hebi hanyou was onto her.
"How am I supposed to get a decent place if that income is no longer tax exempt! And by the way you need to man up Shinji and take out the trash! My husks are piling up into the hall!" Asuka whined.
"Where do you want me to take them," he asked carefully plucking the bottle from her hand as she stopped brandishing it.
"Because its cold out and the cold hates me!" she answered the question he didn't ask. Pausing she looked at him confused before scowling realizing the mistake.
"Just toss it in the woods, its garbage and the nearest environmentalist is about a thousand years away. So go chop down trees for fun!" she yelled at him as Kanna slipped away from the table.
X X X
The girl walked under the moonlight snow. She looked to the sky and was relieved it was empty. Her pack-mates would not leave the den in their human forms, only mother could interrupt this.
She reached down and began to undo her kimono. It was harder with one arm, but she managed without complaint. He had come to the conclusion hinderances had their own virtue. Irritation reminded her she existed.
Soon enough she was down to her under wrappings, thankfully he cold did not affect her enough to to care, but she still spread out the clothing to kneel o rather than the snow. Picking up her broken mirror she placed it before her on the white cloth.
It was hers, she had been born with it. When she had thought she could value nothing she had treasured this one ting. In many ways the mirror was bot part of her and 'was' her. Her strength and greatest weakness.
When Naraku punished her sister it was with pain or imprisonment. The only time he had punished her in earnest, he had taken her mirror away.
Her hand drifted to the bandages wrapped thickly over she shoulder. Her wounds edges were to sharp and ruined clothing. As sharp as ever, and would always be.
Because she could not heal while the mirror was broken. And what would mend it if not a jewel shard?
She was weak, injured as well as crippled. A crippled demon could still be mighty, had her sister's Desire not demonstrated such?
And how easily her pack had been put at another's mercy. Fear was something she was getting used to, she supposed that had been terror. Kanna found she could not properly contemplate the result of her packs death and her survival. As such the logical conclusion was to not allow such a thing to pass.
She needed to be stronger, she needed the mirror whole. Even if it meant she never would be.
1). This is from experience first time I saw him in a commercial I thought that was a woman. Just another strike against first impressions.
2). And there will be a pairing among the PIlot group. Shinji is still messed up from the 3I, and he will need to get over it further before he thinks of himself in such a maner. Of course there are others innvolved . . .
Its alive! Snipa leaving was a big blow here. Next chapter we get to see what Inuyasaha and his lot are up too. Speaking of which I seriously need to clean up Kagome's part in that other chapter.