Chapter 1: Truth

            I would like to start by setting the record straight about me.  First of all, I am not a fool, nor am I naïve.  You think that I am, but this was merely a ploy.  I knew all about Kagome's situation from almost the very beginning.  However, I said nothing, because I made a promise not to.  The fact is, however, that I knew what Kagome was doing when she wasn't at school.  I knew that she did not have gout, or neuritis, or Asian flu, or any of that silly old man's myriad of excuses.  I knew about the mysterious power of the well, about Sengoku Jidai, about Inuyasha. 

            I began to learn of all this one day when I went to deliver a gift to her at her home, the Higurashi Shrine.   I delivered the item to her grandfather and made to leave.  On the way out, however, I saw her, Kagome, step from the well house.  I was perplexed, since she seemed to be carrying enough things to last for several days.  I didn't know why at the time, but I was starting to become curious.  It was by luck that I came back at a later time, the exact time that Kagome was heading to the well house.  Again she was carrying a large pack.  At this time, I was still in the dark to the real story, thus I briefly thought that this had something to do with one of her 'diseases'.  It was night at this time, and I was hiding in the shadows of some nearby bushes.  From my vantage point, I saw her step inside, and heard footsteps as she began to walk down the stairs.  At this point, I crept silently to the door.  What I saw shocked me beyond belief!  Kagome leapt into the well, which must have been at least ten feet deep, and disappeared in a flash of strange-colored light!  I ran to the well and looked down into it, but saw only darkness.  What was going on here?

            My heart was beating wildly in my chest.  What had just happened?  I was frozen there in wonder, millions of thoughts exploding through my brain, when Mrs. Higurashi appeared at the top of the stairs.  She simply looked at me and said "Hello, Hojo."  I was stunned.   I ran up the stairs to her and began asking a million questions at a feverish pace.

            "Be calm," she said, "now sit down here and I will explain."  She took a deep breath and looked down at the well.  "A couple of weeks ago, Kagome was on her way to school when something happened.  Her cat had disappeared into the well house and she went with her little brother to find it.  That's when a monster appeared and pulled her into the well, and back through time.  She was missing for three days, until she simply appeared one day, wearing outdated clothing she could not have possibly gotten from here.  She told us she had been to the Feudal times of ancient Japan.  Naturally, such a thing was hard to believe, but Kagome does not run off, nor does she lie.  So we believed her, and ever since then we have supported her in her quest."

            "Why does she keep going back?" I asked.  In response, she told me all about the Shikon No Tama, and how it was shattered by Kagome.  She told me about the demons she had fought, and the one she fought with.  That was the first time I heard the name Inuyasha.

            "So this is why she doesn't come to school sometimes?"

            "Yes, she has taken it upon herself to fix the problem she was partially responsible for.  And she won't stop until everything is resolved."  With this, I thanked her and turned to leave when she stopped me.  "One more thing, you must not tell anyone about this, and you must not tell Kagome that I told you." 

            "I won't, Mrs. Higurashi."

            Oh, how I wish the cost was not so great!  Kagome continued to go to the Feudal Ages, and I continued to watch her from afar.  I gave her gifts and asked her on dates to show I cared, since I could not simply come out and tell her what I knew.  As you can tell, I love her, and the only thing I was trying to do was bring her some measure of peace. 

            It was later that I learned of her love for Inuyasha, and my heart nearly broke.  I wanted her so badly that she was all I thought about.  I talked to her mother often, and she gave me updates as to what was going on in the Feudal times.  Everything I know, I learned from her.

            Even now, as I sit in this gloomy basement lab, I am thinking of another day.  The day of Mrs. Higurashi's final update.  The day I learned that Kagome had died.

            As soon as I heard this, I went into downtown Tokyo.  I climbed to the top of a twenty-three story building, where I planned to throw myself off.  If someone like Kagome can be killed so easily, what right do I have to live?  But  I didn't do it.  I remembered something, something very important, and that is why I am here now.  That is how my plan was hatched.

            Kagome died defending Inuyasha against a demon named Naraku, the bastard that was causing all the trouble in the Feudal times.  Inuyasha had been rendered unconscious, and Kagome tried to hold Naraku off with purifying arrows, but his two daughters kept preventing the arrows from reaching them.  Kanna, using her mirror, either absorbed or deflected them, and Kagura created windstorms to push them off course.  Naraku then surrounded Kagome in a miasma, which no one could stop.  Inhaling the deadly gas, her heart stopped, and she was gone.

            Inuyasha then woke up and, consumed with rage, managed to drive Naraku off.  But the fool had still failed!  Naraku survived, but Kagome was no more.

 Together, her friends brought her body back to her own time, where she was cremated and given a proper funeral.  I was there, at the Higurashi Shrine where she was interred, and I have never seen so much sadness.  So many people were there: family, friends, neighbors, even people who barely knew her.  I never knew how many lives she had touched.  I also met the ones who fought with her in the Feudal Era; Shippo, Miroku, and Sango.  Inuyasha left before I could talk with him.  I reminisced with them about Kagome, such as the kind of person she was and the experiences I had with her in this time.  I don't think they knew my feelings for her, but simply thought I was a friend.  My conversation was not merely idle banter; I had a purpose: information.

I found what I was looking for from the Buddhist monk called Miroku.  I found him sitting outside, in the shade of the Sacred Tree, facing Kagome's grave marker.

"Miroku-sama," I said, "Could you tell me about this man called Naraku?"  His eyes were haunted as he answered.  I could tell he cared very deeply for Kagome and mourned her loss.

"Naraku is not a man.  He is a demon.  His two daughters are only offshoots of his body.  He is pure evil, living off the pain and suffering of human and demon alike.  He has turned lover against lover, brother against sister, demon against demon.  It was he who cursed me with this."  He held up his right hand, covered in a violet cloth and a rosary of prayer beads.  I knew this to be his Kazaana, his Air-Void, the thing that would one day swallow his body as it had swallowed his father's and his grandfather's.

"Is he powerful?"

"Yes, extremely, for he is made up of one thousand demons that he can send out at will.  He can change his shape and take the form of anyone or anything that he likes.  He is devious, and sets traps to lure the unwary.  He also uses Shikon shards to control demons, which he then sends to attack his enemies.  He controls humans as well, and has even sent Sango's younger brother to attack us."

"Where did this Naraku come from?"

"He was born from a man, a thief, named Onigumo, in the Feudal times fifty years before Kagome's arrival.  This thief was badly wounded and blistered with burns, and it was not known where he came from, but he was found by a priestess named Kikyo, who tried to care for him.  She brought him to a cave near her village, where she fed him, tended his wounds, and tried to heal him the best she could.  In the end though, it was determined that Onigumo would never recover, and that he would never walk out of that cave.  At the same time, Kikyo had met Inuyasha, and was trying to make him human using the power of the Shikon No Tama. 

They set a date to meet, but when Kikyo went to find Inuyasha, she was ambushed and fatally wounded, and the jewel was taken by Inuyasha.  However, this was not the real Inuaysha, but Naraku in disguise."

"Wait, what happened to Onigumo?"

"He became Naraku.  Onigumo's soul was eaten by one thousand demons, and he himself became a demon; one of the most powerful that has ever lived."  We were silent for several minutes as I sought to digest everything I had just heard. 

Naraku, born from a human?  Interesting…This means that he has or, rather, had a weakness.  He was once human and disabled.

As I thought about what Miroku had said I came to one conclusion: Naraku was the one responsible for Kagome's trip to the past.  If he hadn't caused Kikyo to die and take the Shikon No Tama with her, then it wouldn't have shown up inside Kagome's body in the present time.  If that hadn't happened, then she wouldn't have been pulled down the well by the monster and would still be alive today.  Also, she would never have met Inuyasha, and thus never would have fallen in love with him.  But that doesn't matter.  All that does matter is that Kagome would be alive today if Naraku had never been born, and caused Inuyasha and Kikyo to fight each other.

I said a quick goodbye to Miroku, walked through the house and said goodbye to everyone else, then left.  No longer do I want to die, but rather, to live.  For I have work to do, and plans to make.  I'm going to do the impossible: I'm going to bring Kagome back to life, no matter what the cost!