Chapter Twenty Three The Final Battle Part II

"Bold"Foreign Language

A thin line of smoke drifted into the sky indicating that Shin had neared the enemy based camp. Hidden behind tall grass, he observed human soldiers busily setting up tents. Catching the soft murmurs of battle plans coming from the tent located in the centre of the camp, Shin cautiously inched closer to hear clearly.

"We are at the heart of France," a voice spoke.

"We are," the other confirmed. "Those youkais don't even realize what they are standing upon."

Shin's brows furrowed in confusion. Why were the humans so eager to lead them to the heart of France? What was the reason for their retreats?

"When do we trigger the purification bombs?"

His body froze. Purification bombs?

"We don't have the trigger. General Yamamoto is the only one with the trigger. We just need to wait here until we hear a huge explosion."

Slowly sinking below the tall grass lines, Shin began to head back to inform Inuyasha of the news. However, within a few steps Shin felt an electrifying sensation strangle his motions, thus preventing him from further escape. Fallen on his knees, his hand reached for his throat as he desperately gasped for breath.

What had happened? He doubted he was caught by any of the human soldiers. He made sure he was fully hidden.

Hearing the soldiers shout to alert of an intruder, Shin sensed them nearing him. Unhurried footsteps soon approached his location.

"What do we have here? A youkai?" The General kneeled down to observe the withering sight of the intruder.

Shin tried to remain unfazed by the unknown pain that coursed through him.

"You've come to spy on us wondering why we keep retreating?"

Shin lifted his hardened eyes to meet with the General's as he heard, "We knew you would come, so we placed up a barrier where youkais may enter but can never leave."

A sick laughter echoed in the clearing. The General slowly pulled out his pistol and aimed towards the paralyzed youkai.

As a gust of wind swept across the grassy field, Shin closed his eyes in utter defeat.

##

A dreadful sensation of loss suddenly filled her. Snapping her eyes towards a distant direction, Kagome felt something went terribly wrong.

What was it?

What was making her heart ache?

"Kagome!" The voice of General Hildebrand caught her attention. "The soldiers have begun firing at the third building."

Watching the third building come into vision, she saw soldiers surrounding the premises with purification bullets being fired. Chips of wood flew in all direction as the bullets shot through the building walls. Screams of agony echoed from within. Arriving inches away, Kagome sprinted through what remained of the entrance. A barrier was instantly erected, preventing another bullet from breaking in.

The sound of gunshots muffled against the strong barrier.

Turning to observe the damage caused, her eyes widened in horror. Youkais huddled together; their trembling hands remained over their eyes while their backs curled in fear. Only a third of the youkais seemed to have survived the attack that occurred only minutes ago. Piles of dust, which were the only remains of the thousands of youkais, scattered the grounds.

Feeling the strength leave her legs, she fell to the ground causing dust to scatter into the air around her. Unaware of the other mournful eyes, she ran her hands through the remains. Tears slipped down her face as she whispered to those who passed on, "I am sorry I came too late."

Her eyes remained closed for a moment before opening them to reveal determination. "We have one more building to go to, General Hildebrand."

He stared at her with worry, "You realize that half of them were probably already taken to the execution centre and perhaps the other half are already shot by bullets. There is no point."

"I'll save whoever is left." Kagome stood up and allowed the General to take her to the last building. As they sped through the camp, she noticed that there was a drastic absence of soldiers. She asked, "Where did all the soldiers go?"

Noticing him slow down, Kagome saw General Hildebrand's expression stiffen and the hold around her waist tense. Coming to a full stop, she voiced worriedly, "What is wrong?"

His eyes remained concentrated in front of him. Pink eyes slowly turned to look at the direction he faced.

There, standing a few metres away from the last youkai building, stood Yamamoto with the remaining army of soldiers.

"Miko." Eyes of hatred stared straight at her.

A trembling rush of fear exploded from her chest.

"You have come to destroy my plans once again," he snarled at her viciously. His face darkened, expressing the threat and dangers he planned to impose upon her. Stretching out one hand, a crystal appeared swirling with violent waves of purification.

A slight nudge from the General snapped her from sinking into fear. "Go. I will stop him as long as possible."

Refusing to hear her protest, General Hildebrand left her side to confront Yamamoto.

Kagome clenched her fist. She knew it was dangerous for the General to face Yamamoto alone, but this was the only way to save the others. Without looking back, she sprinted towards the last building.

Any soldier that dared block her way was knocked to the ground by the gravity of her powers that radiated from her.

Pant.

Only a few steps away.

"DIE, YOUKAI!"

Her eyes betrayed her and looked back. Streaks of power left craters along the grounds as light surrounded the two figures at war.

Hatred burned in the eyes of Hildebrand. The torture his loved ones were put through due to Yamamoto.

Hatred burned in the eyes of Yamamoto. The embedded hate towards youkai never healing.

Such hate. Her heart ached.

You must seek to undo such hatred.

A gun shot was sounded.

Kagome watched in horror as the General's body froze in action.

A mist rose from the ends of a pistol that Yamamoto held aimed towards his enemy.

A scream erupted from her lips as she watched the wind carry away the disintegrated remains of her friend.

The battlefield became a blur.

Distant shouts of her title being called couldn't reach her.

"Secure the Miko!" General Hildebrand's second in command arrived at the scene with his troops.

Grief took a hold of her heart.

Gun shots continued to echo.

A hold on her arm caused her to snap out of the drowning sensation of emotions.

War gave no one time to grieve.

How cruel.

Swallowing the lump caught in her throat, Kagome noticed the second in command in front of her. Without a word, she gave him the black pearl. She stared at him and saw that he understood what he needed to do. Slowly nodding her head, she lifted her arms towards the last youkai building and erected a barrier. The youkai troops retreated towards the building, leaving her alone with Yamamoto.

The clearing was finally silent.

Bodies scattered the ground except for two.

Kagome stared into eyes burning with hatred.

"You think you've ruined my plans, Miko? Well, I was always one step ahead of you!" Yamamoto sneered.

How was she supposed to undo such hatred?

A crazed snicker escaped his lips as a feral smirk remained. "It's too late for you, Miko! You might have saved the youkais here, but did you think about the youkais in battle!?"

She remembered the reason for his hatred.

"Your entire youkai army is standing upon purification bombs! They don't even know it! I can set the bombs off any minute on my command." Victory reflected in his eyes as he expected the Miko to beg for their lives. Instead, he was caught off guard by her calm expression.

"You've learned the history of your family line," she said as a statement rather than a question.

His eyes narrowed.

"Miko, stop wasting your time trying to convince me of anything."

"I will stop, if you figure out the truth about your clan's slaughter."

How the Miko knew he would actually search for the truth, he did not know. As a favour from the Emperor of Japan, he found out the truth. "Yes. It doesn't matter if my family line made a contract with those youkais to destroy the Peace Treaty. They are still monsters for killing my Father's family in cold blood."

The hatred for all youkai was still there.

Once the youkai army are all purified, Germany would win the War giving him the power to exterminate all youkais from the face of the world. Merciless eyes prepared to set off the explosion that would satisfy his revenge.

"Were they really killed in cold blood?"

A soft whisper of doubt caused him to pause. His gaze slowly landed on the Miko who appeared so confident. He snapped, "What do you mean?"

"The youkai clan handed over the Peace Treaty to the head of your family, while your family provided them a device that would purify youkai. That was the contract. Together, it was meant to destroy the harmony between human and youkai."

A sinking feeling overwhelmed his senses.

"However, this contract was never completed because neither parties expected a Miko from another time to appear during the exchange of the Peace Treaty."

She watched the complexion of his face grow pale. Carefully, she explained, "I was given the Peace Treaty, while the youkai clan believed I was a member of your family."

"You gave the Peace Treaty back to the Emperor," He said as his voice sounded hollow.

"Yes, causing the youkai clan to believe your family betrayed them." She could no longer read the emotions on Yamamoto's face.

His head slowly shook in disbelief.

"If only he knew the whole story..."

If his Father knew of the whole truth, would his hatred for youkai been the same?

"You were too young to question your Father's hatred towards youkai."

His hand flew upwards to cover his ears.

"Sesshomaru ordered the Youkai Army to wipe out the youkai clan soon after your family was slaughtered."

He didn't want to hear it. He didn't want to hear the truth. Yet, thoughts of doubt echoed in his mind.

Clenching his hands tighter around his ears, he drew blood.

The gut wrenching sensation of guilt had returned.

"But now you are old enough to choose your own path."

No.

The daunting guilt of millions of youkai lives he's exterminated... would drive anyone insane.

No.

He withered in pain. Drips of fresh blood from his fingers digging into his skin went unnoticed.

No.

It wasn't his fault.

No.

Finally lifting his shifty eyes towards the Miko, she stared at him as if she saw straight into his soul.

NO.

"IT'S NOT MY FAULT!" He raged ferociously. His entire body trembled with a burning sensation. Unable to deal with the guilt, he resorted what he had done all his life; hate. "IT'S YOUR FAULT, MIKO!"

Aiming a pistol at the Miko, he shot bullets like an uncontrollable mad man.

Kagome erected a barrier and watched in sorrow as Yamamoto fed his guilt to hatred. The truth did not heal his hatred at all.

BANG BANG BANG

Ignoring the sound of bones cracking, Yamamoto used his bloody bare hands to try and break the barrier that separated him from killing the Miko.

He wanted the Miko to pay for his sins.

You must seek to undo such hatred in order for your wish to become complete.

What did the Shikon no Tama want her to do now? She watched the feral man in hopelessness.

"IF YOU DON'T LET ME KILL YOU, MIKO, I WILL TRIGGER THE PURIFICATION BOMB AND SLAUGHTER THE ENTIRE YOUKAI ARMY!"

Near the end of your journey, a choice will be given to you; one selfish and one pure.

The grasp around her heart tightened.

A sad smile appeared.

She had known it would end somewhat like this.

Would she be selfish and risk the lives of her youkai friends by killing Yamamoto? Could she even kill Yamamoto? Kagome watched with pity at the man who only knew the emotion of hatred. A man who was raised to feel no other emotion. Her eyes softened, knowing the answer.

"Kagome!" The familiar sound of his voice made her heart race.

He was here.

Kagome desperately searched for his presence and finally landed on his figure in the distance.

Golden eyes stared at her with worry.

"Sesshomaru..." Tears trailed down her face, though a small smile reached her lips.

Thankful.

She got to see him one last time.

The barrier disintegrated as Yamamoto stopped pounding on it. He stood a moment confused as to why the Miko dropped her source of protection. Then without further thought, his hands that were completely destroyed motioned for the crystal to deliver a final blow.

A suffocating wave of electric shocks exploded within the clearing as a light shot out from the crystal. "Die, Miko," complete resentment stained his voice till the very end.

Time had finally given her the gift of slowing down the last few seconds she had left.

She lifted her eyes to look into his gold ones, pouring all the love into her last gaze. Kagome then watched the beam of energy headed towards her. Turning towards the figure full of hatred, she whispered, "Yamamoto, I forgive you."

Satisfaction from his revenge slowly transformed into shock.

Pain reached her heart as she was engulfed by light.

As the brightness in the clearing began to diminish, so did the shade of Sakura pink fade from her pupil returning to blue.

Her wish was completed.

Time stopped the moment she breathed her last breath. Her figure faded into millions of soft pink light slowly floating up to the sky.

Crack.

The crystal ball shattered. Yamamoto knew he could no longer sustain his human body without the power of the crystal.

His revenge was complete.

Yet, it was not the act of slaughter that filled him with peace.

Yamamoto, I forgive you...

Perhaps, that is what he needed to hear.

Limbs slowly turned into dust until nothing remained standing.

Soft glows of light lingered in the clearing as if trying to soothe the only witness who remained.

He would be the only one to remember what had happened.

The fate of the world was determined with a pure choice.

With her sacrifice, harmony between human and youkai was now embedded within the world. Therefore, the future from which she was born would no longer exist; her existence erased.

The lone figure would be the only one who would remember who she was.

His last milestone.

##

Author's Note: There will be one last chapter after this. Thank you for your patience.

Thank you for reading,

Your reviews are cherished.